We got about 5″ of snow on Tuesday and it’s snowing again today, all day, with another 2″ – 5″ of accumulation expected. That’s not a problem, we’re used to weather like this. It’s winter and it’s Michigan. Problem is, the last couple of years have been fairly mild and we haven’t had a great deal of snow to deal with. So the powers that be who have to decide the winter budget for equipment, man hours and how big of a salt pile we’ll likely need, underestimated it this winter by a considerable amount. It probably doesn’t help that the budget was likely fixed back in August or some such silly month but the upside of all of this is that we could easily have another 6 weeks of winter ahead of us and we’ve already ran out of salt! We, like many states in the Mid West, and also in Canada, have had a very snowy winter this year, February’s total for SE Michigan is already at 19.1″ and that doesn’t include todays predicted snow fall, I haven’t heard what the total winter accumulation to date is. I also heard from a Canadian friend that they ran out of salt in early January in Toronto, so other places have definitely had it worse than us.
Now, while I don’t like the amount of salt they throw on the roads around here, and I’m sure there are better, more environmentally friendly ways to deal with all this snow, life must continue on. So that means the school buses still run, workplaces remain open and the employees have to drive from home to work and back again each day, the supermarkets must have food to sell so they rely not only on their staff being able to get to work but the delivery trucks turning up with new supplies, and so it goes on. As a commuter with a 20 mile journey to work each way, I’, eternally grateful to the men and women of the County Road Commission who work all night long to try to ensure a clear passage for me in the morning. But now, there is no more salt. The suppliers of road salt are even struggling to re-stock as no one expected such a snowy winter, though exactly how one is supposed to be clever enough to out smart Mother Nature is completely beyond me! Just because it hardly snowed last year or the year before is not a good indicator of how much snow this winter will drop on is!
For now, they’re using sand on the roads. Not as good as salt anywhere near, but better than nothing at all, as long as people adjust their driving habits to match it as it can get very slick when the temperatures are just right. Hopefully Spring is just around the corner and we don’t know it, March arrives tomorrow, let’s hope it brings better weather with it.