EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 19, 2014

February brings snow, snow and more snow


Along with the deficits in snow and ice accounts, the tough winter of 2014 has also caused a shortage of rock salt and ice melt.

“We’re currently out of any type of ice melt,” said Tom Daugirda, manager at Aubuchon Hardware in Haverhill. “Friday alone we had eight pallets and they were gone in 36 hours.”

This is the second or third time he has ran out of ice melt and rock salt.

Brian Favor of Main Street Hardware in North Andover said he ran out of rock salt yesterday.

“It’s been a very strong winter,” he said. “People are constantly calling or coming in. They understand that it’s not available because they have checked several places.”

Gordon Hultstrom, owner of Bruckmann’s in Lawrence for the past 40 years, only had 10 bags of rock salt left yesterday. He suspected they’d be gone by the end of the day.

“Because of the weather it never stops,” Hultstrom said. “A lot of people can’t find it anywhere and now it is getting to the point where we’re out of it too.”

Hultstrom had 20 pallets, each with 50 bags of rock salt and ice melt, but supplies dwindled. He began replacing them two weeks ago with shipments from New Hampshire and Maine.

“We would have a lot here, but that’s up in the air at this point,” he said. He suggests calcium chloride flakes, which are effective at 25 below, don’t leave a residue and don’t ruin concrete.

Tom Fortin, owner of Hampton Sand and Gravel in Hampton, N.H., distributes salt to landscapers that have sanders on their trucks.

“The phone never stops ringing when there’s a storm coming,” Fortin said. “It’s like a gold rush.”

Denise Lauer, of the communications department at Morton Salt in Chicago, said the severe winter weather in most parts of the country has caused the strong demand for road salt. From October 2013 through January, the company had shipped more than triple the amount of road salt to U.S. markets that was sent during last year’s mild winter.

“Even compared to a ‘normal’ winter, we’ve shipped significantly more road salt this season to the markets we serve due to the severe weather,” Lauer said.

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