Will There Be A Rock Salt Shortage This Year?

As an NJ resident, you’ve experienced the panic that has washed over our region during periods of rock salt shortages. In recent years past, salt and other ice-melting compounds have flown off of the shelves, leaving us with little to no supply to get us through the second half of the winter season. This leads to unsafe conditions, slip-and-fall hazards, increased injuries, and the potential for liability lawsuits. It’s no wonder, then, that we’ve been getting so many inquiries from customers about whether or not we feel as though there is the potential for another rock salt shortage during this winter season. Although we don’t claim to be psychics, we are able to gather up the facts and resources at our disposal in order to make a prediction about a rock salt shortage this year.

What Causes a Rock Salt Shortage?

Before we dive into making our salt shortage predictions, let’s take a moment to explore the things that cause such a shortage to happen in the first place. One of the biggest contributing factors in a rock salt shortage is a simple lack of not expecting the unexpected. In order to stock up on rock salt each winter, many regions will have the materials shipped into their areas based upon previous climate trends. During the past few years, we have experienced some pretty serious storms, and a whole lot more precipitation and snowfall than usual. This trend has been true, not only in the northeast, but across the midwest and Pacific northwest. This means that more rock salt is being required than was anticipated. As a result, the supply is not meeting the demand. Prices skyrocket, and the material becomes scarce in our hour of need. Therefore, it is very important that you, as a home or business owner, anticipate the worst and take measures to stock up on enough rock salt to get you through the entire season – before the first snowfall.

Winter Weather Predictions

Although there’s no surefire way to predict exactly what the weather is going to look like before the winter months arrive, we do have sources such as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Old Farmer’s Almanac that regularly make educated guesses on what a particular season is going to look like. Both of these authorities have suggested that the winter for NJ and the northeast is going to be a doozy. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, NJ will likely experience very cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. In addition, NOAA anticipates that there may also be spells of unseasonably warm weather intermixed with the cold weather patterns. This means a great deal of freezing and thawing will take place throughout the northeast. We should anticipate needing a lot of rock salt in order to keep our properties free of ice formations.

In addition to considering what the weather will be like in our own region, it’s also advisable to take a look at what’s going to be going on in the rest of the nation. Both NOAA and the Old Farmer’s Almanac are guessing that there will be extremely frigid temperatures paired with heavy snow accumulation in the midwest. This means that we should expect a big chunk of the central part of our country to be experiencing a high demand for rock salt throughout the long winter season. Ultimately, this could mean that, once again, the overall demand for rock salt in the nation will have a tendency to exceed the supply that’s actually available.

Preparing for a Rock Salt Shortage This Year

Knowing that unexpectedly high volumes of precipitation can be an underlying cause of salt shortages, and knowing that certain sources are already predicting a great deal of snow and cold temperatures this winter, we suggest planning for a potential salt shortage. It’s much better to anticipate a rock salt shortage and stock up on the materials you need in advance than to end up caught in the middle of a rock salt shortage without enough ice melt to protect your property halfway through the winter season. Here are a few smart tips for preparing for a potential rock salt shortage this year:

  • Buy Early – The best suggestion we can give for avoiding the hassle of a rock salt shortage is to buy your materials early in the season. Waiting until the last minute to stock up on rock salt could mean that all of the stores have run out of material, or are running very low on the selection and inventory they have to offer. It could also mean that you end up paying more for materials as supply and demand shift.
  • Buy Plenty & In Bulk– It’s also smart to calculate your rock salt needs and figure out exactly how much of the material you’ll need to cover your property for every potential freeze cycle throughout the winter season. This can be accomplished by measuring your coverage area in a square foot, and reading the manufacturer directions for how much rock salt to apply per square foot. Be sure to factor in the number of potential freeze cycles that may occur each winter. According to UsClimateData.com, NJ experiences 38 days of precipitation each winter.
  • Store Properly – Buying a lot of rock salt in advance won’t help you avoid a rock salt shortage if you don’t take the time to properly store your materials. To avoid clumping or reactivation, we recommend storing your bulk rock salt under a tarp.

Braen Stone makes it easy to prepare for a rock salt shortage. As a leading bulk rock salt supplier in NJ, we offer fair and competitive prices. We also offer bulk delivery services throughout NJ, NY, NYC, eastern PA, and southern CT. Talk to one of our expert team members to learn more today.

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By | 2019-10-16T11:11:52-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Rock Salt|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.