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Tri-State Area Faces Icy Conditions As Municipalities Deal With Salt Shortages

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Black ice and a shortage of road salt caused some major problems throughout the Tri-State area after a second big storm this week.

The icy conditions prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter weather advisory that expired at 10 a.m. Thursday for much of the area.

Forecasters say slush and standing water from Wednesday’s snowstorm turned into ice as temperatures plunged below freezing overnight.

The heavy snow and ice this winter has left many municipalities dealing with an increasing salt shortage, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

In New Jersey, Hudson County officials said they’ve asked their vendor for 1,000 tons this week, but only 50 is available.

“The salt supplies are just not available,” Hudson County Office of Emergency Management coordinator Jim Woods said Wednesday. “We actually have two towns that just notified our office they are completely out of salt in Hudson County, and it’s going to make for an extremely dangerous commute.”

Officials in Clifton, N.J. are also worried about their salt supply.

City manager Matthew Watkins said he’s worried about filling salt trucks to fight the next bout of bad weather. “We’re all begging for the supply.”

Clifton has already used twice as much salt as the previous two winters combined, Aiello reported.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered 3,500 tons of stockpiled road salt to be sent downstate where supplies are running low.

“We have enough salt to help areas that have a truly dire situation, like Long Island and the New York City area,” Cuomo said.

So far this winter, NYC’s Department of Sanitation has spread more than 346,000 tons of road salt. That’s compared to 183,000 tons last winter and a mere 59,000 tons the winter before that, Aiello reported.

New York City officials say they have enough salt to last through the next potential snow storm that could come this weekend.

“At this moment, we feel very good about our supply, given the storm coming up,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he is grateful Cuomo sent some extra salt his way, but added that the county is counting on additional shipments to get through the winter.

“We’ve taken a hard hit,” he said. “We’re counting on supplies coming in later this week, but we’re pretty low at this point.”

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy said municipalities are not experiencing dire salt shortages and that more shipments are on the way.

With such rough weather all over so much of the country, salt is in demand.

Snowy roads, however, are delaying deliveries, and ice-clogged rivers mean salt barges can’t budge, Aiello reported.

Like many municipalities, Clifton is stretching its supply by combining salt with sand. AAA says that’s a smart move.

“While the salt is getting rid of that ice you still have the traction that the sand provides on that ice,” AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair said.

The sand will make for more work later on down the road as crews will have to make sure it doesn’t clog up storm sewers.

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