The 2014 Rock Salt Shortage
The end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 has brought some of the most severe winter weather the country has seen in recent memory. With so many cities and towns having to get rid of this snow and ice there is a rock salt shortage occurring across the country.
Why Can’t I Find Rock Salt?
Rock salt is the product of choice for many to melt snow and ice. Even when the temperatures get too cold for rock salt to work alone it is mixed with other substances to help it do its job.
This winter has seen several waves of cold weather including a frigid burst of cold air at the end of 2013. This cold air has extended into the new year and has sent temperatures plummeting to record lows in many portions of the country.
With these record lows plummeting into the single digits and below zero in many places the snow and ice accumulating on roads and walkways have become a huge problem. To keep up with the rapidly falling snow and ice rock salt continues to be used at an increasing rate. As rock salt continues to be used so frequently it is becoming extremely difficult for local and national suppliers to keep up with demand. All of these factors are contributing to the rock salt shortage of 2014.
Are Rock Salt Shortages Common?
Rock salt shortages are not uncommon in most areas. Municipalities and businesses generally buy enough of the material to melt ice and snow for a typical winter season.
If the winter season is milder than they had anticipated they will then have product in reserve for the next year. In years of colder weather and more winter precipitation, many entities run out of rock salt leading to a rock salt shortage.
Rock salt shortages have occurred during many years all over the country, including more recently during 2008, 2009 and 2011 in New Jersey.
Rock Salt Shortages Could Just Be Beginning
You might be wondering, and rightly so, what happens if more ice and snow comes your way. If there is a shortage at the present time it is conceivable that at some point, in the not too distant future, there might not be rock salt available.
More winter weather could make rock salt very hard or impossible to obtain. Governmental agencies, such as the state, county and local jurisdictions, use large amounts of rock salt to keep roads open and safe for the public. Home and business owners might not see the product as readily available to them depending on their supplier.
Preparing for a Rock Salt Shortage
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to try and ensure you have a supply of rock salt in case mother nature continues to throw more snow and ice your way this season.
Some steps to prepare are:
- If you have any rock salt left right now ensure it is properly stored so it doesn’t get ruined due to moisture.
- Try to lock in your cost by paying ahead, hopefully at a discount, and have rock salt when you need it at a great price. When shortages of a commodity occur the price generally goes up.
- Be proactive and order more of the product right now. Even if the rock salt is back ordered you may be first in line when it comes in. Don’t worry about having a little extra at the end of the season, odds are you’ll need it again for next winter.
- Start thinking about the next season and order early. If supplies are tight this winter odds are obtaining rock salt the next season may be just as tough.
- Maintain a good relationship with your supplier. Building relationships is key as you’ll always know who you can depend on when you need it most and they’ll likely be more willing to work with you on pricing and delivery options.
Braen Supply is a dependable source with many excellent snow and ice melt products stocked in large quantities.
Surviving the Rock Salt Shortage
There is no way you can control mother nature and she is going to continue to act unpredictable at times. All you can do is be as prepared as possible for the winter weather that is still to come. Braen Supply is a reliable rock salt supplier located in northern NJ that can keep you stocked all winter long.
Photo is courtesy of Bangor Daily News.