With winter rapidly approaching, businesses and municipalities are busy preparing for the upcoming season.
Unlike many businesses and industries, the supply chain hasn’t been an issue so far in terms of getting ready for winter.
“All of the resources are there for us,” said Jim Piccola, public information officer for Region 2 New York State Department of Transportation. “As far as I know, we haven’t had any issues with getting equipment or supplies as we get ready for the winter season.”
The one resource that the Department of Transportation has been struggling with is finding plow drivers.
“We’re aggressively hiring to fill positions,” said Piccola, adding that interested applicants should visit www.dot.ny.gov.
The Department of Transportation and Fulton County have arranged to have the county maintain State Route 309 this winter.
“We’re really trying to make the best use of our resources right now,” Piccola said. “We’ve entered into a municipal snow and ice agreement with Fulton County to have them plow State Route 309 this winter. They have to cross it on their way to other county roads, so it makes sense logistically.”
La Nina conditions are expected in the Northeast, according to the National Weather Service’s recently released winter outlook. As a result, the U.S. winter outlook for temperature shows warmer-than-average conditions for most of the eastern United States.
“On average, we’re expecting the winter to be warmer and wetter than normal,” said Meteorologist Michael Mann of the National Weather Service Albany.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seasonal outlooks suggest that temperatures and total precipitation amounts will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are anticipated to change in the months ahead. The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations since snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. The next update will be available Nov. 18.
In the short term, temperatures are expected to drop this week and there is a chance for some snow showers.
“We’re expected a downward trend in temperatures toward the end of the week,” Main said. “Wednesday and Thursday we’re expecting highs in the upper 40’s,” he said, adding that snow showers were possible for both Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
When the snow does begin to fly, area municipalities and business said they are ready.
“We built a salt shed 10 years ago and it’s full right now, so we should be in pretty good shape,” said Mark Yost, superintendent of highway and facilities in Fulton County. “We’re in good shape as far as drivers go. We’ve been fortunate in that regard.”
The highway department has not experienced supply chain disruptions, he said.
“I don’t anticipate any problems,” Yost said. “We always try to be ready by the last week of October. We’re ready to go.”
So is Vince Logan, vice president for Longhorn Trucking and Capital District Salt on Route 5 in Fort Plain, which supplies road salt to several municipalities.
“We haven’t really had any issue because all of our salt is mined in New York State,” Logan said. “All of our competitors in the area import their salt. Some of it comes from South America, so that might cause a supply issue at some point because of the ocean freight problems.”
Logan’s companies have 80,000 tons of salt in their covered storage building right now and hope to have the 100,000 ton facility full by the end of November.
“We deliver road salt to municipalities. villages, towns, New York DOT and the Thruway Authority,” Logan said. “Last year, we went into Connecticut and Massachusetts because they had some supply shortages at the end of the season.”
Capital District Salt was founded in 1998 and is also the handler for Cargill Deicing Technology’s Port of Albany location.
Logan also said that he was fortunate that his trucking company is in solid shape in terms of drivers. The company hauls sand, aggregate, millings, agricultural lime and non-hazardous soil in addition to hauling salt direct from Cargill’s mine in Lansing, New York.
“Not right now,” Logan said when asked if he had any issues with staffing. “We used to get four to six applications a month. Now, we don’t see four to six applications in a year. It’s tough out there, but we’ve got a good group of guys working for us right now.”
At B&B Equipment in Gloversville, Joe Artikuski Jr. said his business is booming as customers have begun to purchase snow throwers in anticipation of the winter season.
“Thank goodness that we’ve had very good success with getting equipment,” Artikuski said.”We have a good inventory of snow blowers and they are selling well. I think we’re going to sell out early this year.”
He hasn’t seen much of an impact from the supply chain issues that are impacting several other areas of the economy.
“So far we haven’t had any issues with getting tires. We’ve been pretty fortunate that we’ve been able to get what we’ve needed,” Artikuski said.
“There are some things for sure that are a little harder to get, but for the most part, we’re in good shape.”