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Brutal winter depletes salt for residents

A worker clears a path in front of

A worker clears a path in front of Chase Bank on Main Street in Huntington, on a temporarily closed portion of the sidewalk, as other workers above them clear the roof of snow, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

If you're looking for salt to cope with Monday's snowfall, good luck finding it.

Many hardware stores on Long Island have run out. Managers of stores in Setauket, Bay Shore, Port Jefferson, East Patchogue, Shirley and other communities surveyed said their supplies of the melting chemical are out of stock -- emptied by the relentless onslaught of ice, snow and sleet this winter.

One to 3 inches were forecast for Long Island overnight. Last week, the National Weather Service had predicted the system might bring as much as 8 inches.

Salt is in such high demand that it has sold out within a day to as little as just a few hours, according to Nassau County Home Depot store managers. Among them, branches in East Meadow, Elmont, Freeport, Jericho and Valley Stream have none on hand and are waiting for their next shipment.

"It's the time of year where, because of how bad the weather has been, supplies are just very limited," said Andy Pergament, store manager at Ace Hardware in Bethpage.

Mark Floril, the assistant manager of Lowe's in Bay Shore, said the store has not had salt for more than a week.

"Our last shipment lasted three hours. There's definitely a production issue," he said.

Those out east seem to have the most luck. Over at the Westhampton True Value, manager Kristin Jankowski said the store received a shipment Sunday and has about 50 20-pound bags in stock. "We expect to sell out this afternoon," she said.

Some smaller hardware stores had some on hand. In Bohemia, Long Island Hardware's manager Scott Flath also has plenty of salt. "I'm sitting on a full tractor-trailer load, about 18 pallets," he said.

And some stores said they would have more by the end of the week. Hank Brinkmann, the owner of Brinkmann True Value in Blue Point, has been out of stock for a few days but is expecting a shipment Wednesday or Thursday.

George Johnson, manager at Ace Hardware in Glen Cove, chuckled when asked if his store carried salt.

"We won't get another shipment until Thursday next week," he said.

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