MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Gisborne this afternoon.
Severe thunderstorms were detected near Matawai around 2.30pm, Metservice said.
"They're moving towards the northeast and will be accompanied by very heavy rain and hail."
Thunderstorm watches have also been issued for Bay of Plenty, Taupō, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay today.
"There is a moderate risk of thunderstorms for central and eastern parts of the North Island this afternoon and evening," MetService said.
"These thunderstorms will bring localised heavy rain and small hail."
The watch is in place from 1pm to 9pm Saturday.
Because the storms are slow-moving, there is a moderate risk that they become severe, possibly producing more than 25 to 40 mm of rain per hour, MetService warned.
"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."
It comes as some East Coast communities remain cut-off — with power having only been recently restored in some areas and many roads and bridges remaining severely damaged in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.