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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 09/26/2008

Salt Shortage: A Real Reason to Freak Out?

By Dan Stillman

Snow falls in downtown D.C. on Jan. 17, 2008. By Capital Weather Gang photographer Ian Livingston.

Washingtonians tend to go a bit cuckoo when presented with even a small amount of snow or ice. But is a reported salt shortage across the nation a legitimate reason to panic this coming winter?

I spoke with local transportation officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration, and the D.C. and Virginia transportation departments. All say that they expect their salt supplies to be at full capacity and anticipate being able to adequately treat road surfaces this winter.

So there shouldn't be anymore slippin' and slidin' than normal. Still, I'm guessing the freak-out factor around here will be high enough to produce the usual run on bread, milk and toilet paper.

For the latest on our damp weather, see our full forecast.

By Dan Stillman  | September 26, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Dank and Damp but Better by Sunday
Next: PM Update: Unsettled Conditions Continue


With the impending budget cuts for all the states and municipalities, the high cost of fuel as well as salt getting any serious snow around here is going to make things interesting. It might be kind of funny if they say they can't afford to clear the streets though.

Posted by: grob | September 26, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Can you say "forecast bust"? I have hardly enough rain to get my driveway wet.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse


What part of the forecast has been a bust? So far I think CWG has pretty much got it right.

Posted by: MoSno | September 26, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I am proactively putting into place pre-approved 'work from home' plans for when snow hits us. Of course, that alone may prevent much accumulation...

Posted by: ~sg | September 26, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Good ... the Salt is terrible for the environment and should be banned.

Posted by: Bill Monroe | September 26, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous, This "Dancewrecker" has been somewhat of a "bust", so far, but it's supposed to keep bugging us throughout the weekend.

Please see my separate item to be posted re Sterling's botched call on the storm's "triple point". [They said it's 'way offshore', but CWG's Weather Wall locates it near Kitty Hawk, NC!]

Posted by: El Bombo | September 26, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The math doesn't quite add up... 4x increase in salt prices is staggering. Blaming it on increased fuel costs doesn't cut it.

I am sure all the elevated surfaces of the new mixing bowl will be fine. Just like last year... oh wait. Never mind.

Posted by: John - Burke | September 26, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

We won't need much salt this winter anyway, since it likely will be a repeat of last winter...

Posted by: anon | September 26, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and we just spread "sand" (essentially a gravel mix) with only a very small salt content. Not sure what the price of gravel is, but have to believe this was cheaper than salt. You have to sweep it up in the spring though, and you have to be careful driving on it. If we used it here, there would be a lot of overturned SUVs on the side of the road with idiots wondering why going 90 MPH was such a problem!

Posted by: Southside FFX | September 26, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

hahahaha well be sealed in our icy capitol

Posted by: Period | September 26, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Southside FFX, I'm trying to figure out what the downside of your plan is. Gravel is also less corrosive to vehicles than salt.

Posted by: ep | September 27, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

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