Storm set to drench Gisborne, Hawke's Bay

Niwa says its concerns are growing for a "significant rain event" associated with a storm approaching the North Island's east coast.

There is a raft of warnings in place for the area, parts of which can expect more rainfall over the next day and a-half than they have seen for the the whole month of June.

Orange heavy rain warnings are in place from 10am on Tuesday until noon on Wednesday for Gisborne and from 10am on Tuesday until 9pm on Wednesday for Hawke's Bay, north of State Highway 5.

Hawke's Bay about and south of SH5 had a orange heavy rain warning in place from 11am on Tuesday until 3pm on Wednesday.

MetService meteorologist Clare O'Connor said current models predicted the heaviest rainfall would hit this afternoon.

Gisborne could see peak rainfall at a rate of 25 millimetres per hour, she said.

Orange strong wind warnings were also in place there, with severe gale southerlies gusting at 120kmh an hour in exposed places.

There is also a strong wind watch for Bay of Plenty, east of Whakatane, from 3pm on Tuesday until 6am on Wednesday.

Further periods of rain or showers were forecast through the remainder of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but MetService said intensities and amounts were expected to be much lower.

People were advised to clear drains and gutters ahead of heavy rain, avoid low-lying areas and drive with caution.

 - RNZ/ODT Online