Stores in the Baltimore area have reported a shortage in rock salt supply leading up to a storm that could bring half a foot of snow across the region.
Residents buying up the salt for their sidewalks and driveways to combat recent snow and ice have caused eight or nine Home Depot stores in the area to run low, a supervisor at the chain's Catonsville location said.
While commercial shelves are bare, the state's supplies are in good shape — the State Highway Administration, which maintains all numbered routes across Maryland, estimated that its salt stockpiles are around 80 percent.
At the Lowe's in Glen Burnie, Kimberly Everd has dealt with customer after customer frustrated to find that the home improvement store has been out of salt for two weeks.
"That's every call I've been getting," the customer service representative said, estimating that more than 80 percent of the customers entering the store turn right back around when they realized the salt is sold out.
It isn't just the salt that's in short supply. Space heaters and stove pellets have almost completely disappeared from shelves, Everd said, and other snow-related items, from shovels to sleds, are almost all gone.
A delivery of pellets and salt is due to arrive on Thursday, she said, "weather permitting."
"It's probably going to be backed up," she added.