Feb. 14 2019 12:00 AM

The severe winter system that’s frosting over the northern parts of the U.S. is causing a drain on the resources needed to deal with it.

With the Polar Vortex still hammering away at the Midwest, both the people who live in the region and the landscape companies that serve them are having a hard time trying to manage all that Arctic snow. At least one county in Iowa, Lee, has run out of salt, according to a story posted on the WGEM-TV (Quincy, Illinois) website.

Landscapers like Dean Pfeiferling with A-1 Landscaping in Hamilton are having trouble finding any. Stores that do get in a supply of NaCl are having a hard time keeping in on the shelves. “It’s been one of the worst winters we’ve had in five or ten years,” says Pfeiferling.

He usually gets his salt from Burlington, but his vendor recently cut him off, saying that salt was becoming too hard to keep in stock. But snow and ice still need melting, so he’s having to improvise, using whatever substitute he can find. “To cut back on the salt use we’ve been putting down rock chips in some places to try and save on it,” says Pfeiferling.

When he is able to track some down, Pfeiferling finds himself having to pay almost double. “I was just taking it on the chin for a while but after the last bills went out and they raised it, I put out a notice that I was going to have to increase my prices by 50 percent on the salt because I just couldn’t absorb it myself anymore,” he says.

Meanwhile, salt is reported to be “flying off the shelves” at Farm and Home Supply in Keokuk. “Every time we get it in, we’re selling out,” says John McGee, store manager. A new shipment just came in and it’s already selling out. Another will come in a couple of days and will probably sell out just as fast.

“In all my years of retail, this is by far the worst I’ve ever seen,” commented McGee.