Although the Serious Salt Shortage bedeviling the Coulee Region pales in comparison with the Great Mulch Shortage of 2015, patchy supplies of the ice-melting pellets are leaving folks slip, slidin’ away on many sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.
Those still fighting mounds of icy snow that plows shoved into their driveways faced particularly daunting tasks.
Small packages of ice melt formulas can be found in isolated pockets, but residents grappling with ice patches as big as the state of Delaware should check stores online or via phone before venturing out if they’re trying to find enough to tackle their woes with floes.
For example, the Onalaska Menards had nearly 400, 50-pound bags of Rapid Ice Melt in stock at noon Wednesday, a supply that had dwindled to 300 by 6 p.m. The Menards in Winona. Minn., had more than 300 at noon but 250 at 6 p.m.. The La Crosse Menards had none.
Home Depot Onalaska had a limited supply of a granular ice melt at 6 p.m., down from earlier in the day.
Most Festival stores were plumb out of 50- and 20-pound bags of their ice melting formulas, although the Village Festival still had 10-pound bags at noon. Ace Hardware at 4242 Mormon Coulee Road had some 50-pound bags, but those were of the pricier Halite formula, which cost $11.99, compared with $8.99 for Rapid Ice Melt, dropping to 8 bucks with 11 per cent off.
Some homeowners resigned themselves to using granular salt intended for use in water softeners, which isn’t as effective as ice melt varieties.
During the Great Mulch Shortage in May 2015, as the Tribune chronicled exclusively, gardeners and homeowners were stranded without mulch during peak gardening/landscaping time.
Although the daytime high in the steamy mid-teens Wednesday loosened some ice, overnight lows near minus 6 degrees were expected to harden it again.
And, true to form of the past two weeks, National Weather Service predictions of highs in the 20s for the next three days before plunging to a high of 7 degrees Sunday and lows in single digits above zero to minus 13 overnight Sunday won’t melt much ice on their own.
February in La Crosse is now the snowiest February on record, thanks to 0.4 inches of snow that fell Wednesday.
The new record of 31.1 inches surpasses the previous record set in February 1959, when 31.0 inches of snow fell.
This winter, a total of 52.2 inches of snow has fallen since Oct. 1, 2018. The normal snowfall for this time period is 34.2 inches. The most snowfall for this time period is 61.5 inches, back in 1970-1971. The least snowfall for this time period is 7.6 inches, back in 1967-1968.