Severe weather warning issued - heavy rain, gales to lash country

Storms are set to lash the country on Saturday.
Storms are set to lash the country on Saturday. Photo credit: Getty

Buckle up and grab a coat - Saturday's going to be stormy.

Much of the country will be lashed by heavy rain and gales.

But it'll be worst for Coromandel and western Bay of Plenty.

Northland and Auckland get their share of the heavenly havoc all day Saturday, with severe gale force winds in exposed areas.

Metservice has issued a severe weather warning for the area, with rainfall at a rate that may reach 20mm an hour.

There could be up to 120mm falling on the Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty west of Whakatane, causing streams and rivers to rise rapidly.

Surface flooding and slips are also possible, and driving conditions may be hazardous.

The chaos comes thanks to a front coming off the Tasman Sea.

Dunedin and North Otago will experience the forecast stormy weather first with up to 40mm of rain forecast to land from Friday afternoon onwards.

Westland will be hit on Friday night, with 24 hours of bad weather including some heavy falls - up to 85mm in an 18 hour period.

The havoc should ease by early Sunday, though showers are set to continue all weekend.