Weather: Auckland runs out of sandbags as Cyclone Gabrielle approaches New Zealand

Auckland has run out of sand bags, but there is still plenty of sand, as Cyclone Gabrielle approaches Aotearoa.

The storm is due to track across Northland tomorrow before moving south to Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, with warnings of strong winds, heavy rain and big seas.

There have been long queues at the city's three sand bag stations as people try to protect their properties ahead of the cyclone, with tens of thousands of sandbags handed out this morning.

But anyone wanting them will now have to take their own containers.

RNZ reporter Gill Bonnett said a truck was tipping out sand at the North Shore's Civil Defence sand bag station at Windsor Park, but there was disappointment for residents who were showing up.

"There were 21,000 that the Civil Defence officer said they had run through this morning so far, and the other two stations in Auckland are also out. They had a large stock but people obviously got the call to arms really early and they've been rushing here."

Bonnett said there was now a long line of traffic trying to leave the North Shore sand bag station.

The sand bag station at Westgate has also run out of bags after handing out more than 30,000 today.

Long lines have also formed outside several Auckland supermarkets as people stock up on essential supplies.

Information from Auckland Emergency Management about where to get and how to make sandbags can be found here.

How to make sandbags

  • Each sandbag uses approximately 15kg of sand so it's easiest to have two people - one to hold the bag and the other to shovel the sand
  • Fill bags to half or two-thirds full to give the sand room to expand as it absorbs water
  • Tie the bag closed
  • If you're making sandbags at home, use sand or heavy soil. Don't use gravelly or rocky soils, because this will let the water through. And please don't remove sand from beaches because it might be contaminated. You can use any suitable bag, for example old plastic shopping bags can be useful

How to place sandbags

  • For stability, sandbags can be placed up to three bags high
  • Place the first row of sandbags lengthwise and flat to the ground, butting each end to the next, folding the end of the sandbag underneath
  • Stamp them into place to remove air pockets
  • If using two or more layers of sandbags, stagger the joints as you place them (like a brick wall), compacting each one as you go
  • If you are using a plastic sheet, place it in front of the sandbags, between them and the water, then weigh down the bottom and top with extra sandbags

How to dispose of sandbags

  • Sand and sandbags that have been in contact with floodwater need to be thrown away. They can be taken to a local transfer station
  • Don't store wet sandbags because they can rot quickly. Or you can dispose of the sand by scattering the contents in a safe place (the sand might not be safe to spread on your garden)
  • Don't leave bags on the kerbside. They will not be collected and could clog up drains and cause further floods

You can find the latest advice from Civil Defence here.

The latest MetService warnings are here.