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Storm warning for Gisborne to Northland, king tide warning for Auckland

Heavy rain is due to fall on the top of the North Island today - with heavy downfalls forecast from Northland to north of Gisborne, and a double warning for Auckland on Christmas day.

The MetService has issued a heavy rain watch that covers Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.

A low to the north west of the country is causing all the rain, that will continue over the next few days, forecaster John Millward said.

It is slowly moving south, sending fronts down the country.

Aucklanders are warned to prepare for summer storms, including rain on Christmas Day, where downpours are set to coincide with king tides.

Summer storms can change quickly and people should keep a close eye on weather reports, Auckland Emergency Management said.

Driving could become hazardous on coastal roads with king tides around 10am and 11pm on Christmas Day, the emergency management office's acting director Sarah Sinclair said.

Routes such as Esmonde Road and Tamaki Drive may close depending on water levels.

"We're waiting to see how the pressure system develops," she said.

"But we are saying to Aucklanders that if your journey involves any of the areas that [might] be closed for the really high king tides, think about that in your journey planning."

Aucklanders can also take other steps to prevent flooding, such as cleaning drains and gutters and maintaining tree branches, she said.

"If the wind picks up, in advance it might be good to secure any items in the garden that might be affected."

The weather should be better in the South Island on Christmas Day, the MetService's Mr Millward said.

Central Otago is the place to be for fine, sunny weather.

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