New York City facing ‘dire’ road salt shortage amid winter snowstorms

new york city snow plow
Sanitation employees adjust plows during a snowstorm on Monday.
Credit: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

The second of three winter storms to hit the city this week brought a slushy mix of snow and freezing rain that has made for hazardous travel as localities statewide faced a shortage of salt for roads.

About 4 inches of snow accumulated in Central Park before turning into freezing rain and ice Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Thousands of people in the city were without power after ice built up on power lines. The state closed I-84 as a precaution, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared of state of emergency.

“The shortage of salt is a complicating factor,” Cuomo said Wednesday.

Cuomo said the city was among the state localities suffering from a salt shortage. Some of the state’s 3,500-ton supply, roughly 130 truckloads’ worth, would be sent to the those regions.

“We have enough of a supply now to be able to help localities that have a truly dire situation,” he said.

The city said sufficient salt is available for this storm, as well as possible additional snow this weekend, but that officials are working with state authorities.

Because of slick and dangerous roads, the city’s Office of Emergency Management issued a hazardous travel advisory for Wednesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged commuters to use mass transit, though major subway disruptions were reported.

“Be ready for a difficult morning commute,” de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday night.

Between 2 and 6 inches of snow is expected to accumulate throughout the five boroughs during the storm, as well as up to half an inch of ice.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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