Winter is starting early this year, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Long-range weather experts like Farmer’s Almanac and AccuWeather agree that residents of the Garden State can expect cold temperatures and a whole lot of precipitation throughout the 2016-2017 winter season.

Are you prepared for the stormy months ahead? Knowing what to expect and making adequate preparations will keep you safe and comfortable all winter long. Get started by taking a look at weather predictions for late fall 2016 – early spring 2017 and what the forecast means for you.

2016-2017 Winter Weather Outlook

With temperatures already dipping down to the freezing point and predictions of snow rolling in, many NJ residents are wondering what the winter season has in store for them. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like we’re in for a tough one, folks.

AccuWeather says that we’re going to see a few more sub-zero days than normal, and a whole lot more precipitation. The experts have forecasted a high volume of winter storms throughout all of the northeast this season, with the majority of precipitation accumulating right here in NJ.

The highly trusted Farmer’s Almanac agrees with AccuWeather’s report of the strong likelihood that we’ll see higher volumes of precipitation than what is typical. Both sources also point to the fact that the winter won’t just feature a couple of high-volume storms and then quiet down; instead, the winter months and steady precipitation will drag on through early spring.

The Farmer’s Almanac is estimating that the coldest and most heavily precipitated times of the season will include mid-to late January and early to-mid February with the cold lingering into March. Those who love snowy conditions are in for a real treat this year!

What the Forecast Means for You

Besides being able to enjoy an extended winter wonderland, how can you expect this long winter season to affect you? The combination of frigidly cold temperatures with a great deal of precipitation will likely lead to frequent snow and ice formations on the ground.

As the water reaches its freezing point, slick patches will develop on driveways, roads and sidewalks, creating dangerous conditions for walking and driving. There’s no reason to let these potential hazards turn you into a shut-in this winter or make you late in arriving to school and work, though.

This just means that you’re going to need to be proactive, like forming a plan and heading out to stock up on rock salt or other ice melting products before the first big storm hits. Rock salt can make even the coldest and snowiest winters a whole lot more comfortable and much safer for everyone.

That’s because the deicer is able to lower the freezing point of water, causing existing snow and ice to melt while preventing future formations. Due to the fact that it appears that Old Man Winter is going to be hanging around for quite awhile this year, we strongly urge you to map out your rock salt needs for the entire season, well in advance.

As the winter continues to drag on and storms pop up later in the game, the odds will increase that your local suppliers will have run out of most, if not all, of their ice melting materials. We’ve seen many people suffer due to rock salt shortages in past years, and we don’t want to see the same thing happen to you. By anticipating cold temperatures and precipitation through early spring, you can stock up and have enough material on hand during your hour of need.

Calculating Rock Salt Needs for the Season

So how much rock salt, exactly, will you need to last you through the cold winter months? Fortunately, determining the answer to this question isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. Start by measuring your driveway, sidewalk, parking lot, or other coverage areas in square feet.

One cup of most ice melting materials is able to handle 20 square feet of ice. If your coverage area is 1600 square feet, you’ll need to divide the total square feet (1600) by 20.

This will reveal that you’ll need 80 total cups of material to melt your ice per winter storm. A 50 lb bag of rock salt or ice melt contains about 80 cups of material, so you’ll need to use one 50 lb bag each time it storms.

NJ typically experiences around 30 days of precipitation per winter, so plan accordingly. Those with large coverage areas will need to consider buying their materials by the pallet (generally around 49-50 bags per pallet), and may even need to talk to a supplier about purchasing bulk truckload quantities to carry them throughout the entire winter season.

Storing Rock Salt All Throughout the Winter

Once you’ve purchased all the rock salt you need to get you through the winter months, you’re going to need a place to store it all. It’s important to know that you can’t just leave bags of rock salt sitting outside or stored in just any conditions.

When rock salt and other ice melting products are exposed to very cold temperatures, the granules will begin to clump together and harden, which makes the material a whole lot less effective come time to actually use it. Clumped rock salt is also much more difficult to spread, and can cause you to over-apply materials, thus running out of the product faster and wasting money.

To avoid these types of issues, you’ll need to find a location that is at least somewhat sheltered from the cold where temperatures won’t dip below freezing. Typically, an insulated garage or shed is the best place to safely keep these materials.

In addition to making sure that the temperatures are ideal for storage, you’ll also need to make sure that your rock salt isn’t exposed to moisture or water. Once exposed to moisture, the rock salt will begin to activate, dissolving and forming a brine and you’ll lose out on some or all of your ice melting materials.

For best results, we suggest that you keep any bags or pallets of rock salt up off of the floor of any building, especially in locations with sloped entryways or flooring where melting snow and ice from outdoors could trickle in and impact your stockpile.

It’s even better if you have the means to keep your ice melting materials inside of a sealed container, like a clean, empty trash can or a sealed storage bin. This will both protect the materials against the cold and the threat of moisture.

Where to Buy Rock Salt in NJ

Braen Supply is the name you can trust with all of your rock salt needs. As the largest supplier of quality ice melting products, we offer a full range of materials designed to meet your every need.

Whether you’re most concerned with sheer melting power or the overall safety of your pets, there’s a product that’s perfectly suited for your lifestyle, and we’ll help you find it.

All of our rock salt is competitively priced and is available to be purchased by the bag, pallet, or truckload. Bulk deliveries can be made to locations throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC and PA.

Rock Salt Buying Guide