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Thunderstorms, flooding to hit North Island

Published: 9:28AM Friday December 28, 2012 Source: Fairfax/ONE News

Severe thunderstorms and flash flooding are forecast for much of the North Island today.

MetService has issued a warning about the potential development of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, from Waikato down to Wairarapa.

''These storms are expected to be slow moving and capable of producing flooding rainfall, 25-40mm an hour,'' MetService warning says.

''Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and/or flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips.''

People should take shelter immediately ''should severe weather approach or if you feel threatened''.

The warning applies to Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taupo, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Taihape, Wanganui, Manawatu, Tararua, and Wairarapa.

Meanwhile, a severe rain and winds are expected to hit Fiordland, Westland and Canterbury this weekend.

A moist northwest flow is expected to bring heavy rain to the west of the South Island and strong winds to the east on Sunday.

A heavy rain watch is in place for northern Fiordland and Westland south from Saturday afternoon to Sunday. The heavy rain may cause spill over into the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers during Sunday.

A period of strong northwest gales is also forecast for inland Canterbury on Sunday.

Check out the weather in your region here .