Stores across Puget Sound saw long lines and dwindling supplies on their shelves as customers rushed to prepare for this weekend’s snowstorm.
Thursday was a day filled with constant calls and long lines of customers at Five Corners Hardware Company as David Krakora had to deliver the disappointing news. As one person after another approached the register, Krakora would say things like "we ran out this morning" or "sorry, no snow shovels."
"It's been a madhouse," said one clerk.
With more snow on the way, people are seeking out deicer and other supplies. The hardware store had 600 bags of rock salt on Thursday morning and sold out in about 90 minutes.
"I believe we are getting 11 pallets tomorrow," said Krakora.
The store spent the afternoon taking pre-orders for rock salt.
"We've cleaned out the warehouse," said Krakora.
The hardware store was busy Thursday and they know they will be again on Friday.
It was much of the same at Haggen Northwest Fresh in Marysville as people lined up to get groceries on Thursday night. As people stock up before the storm, businesses are just trying to keep pace.
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Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers preemptively declared an emergency effective Friday at 8 a.m.
"We already had a line out the door by 7:15 this morning of people looking to buy things," said Catharine Ellis, of McDaniel's hardware in Snohomish.
By 11 a.m. Thursday, the store had already burned through 20 pallets of rock salt and two truckloads of liquid deicer.
"It has been hard to find this stuff," Rob Osborne said as he grabbed two of the last three gallons of deicer. "I went to four places yesterday."
"It's been insane," said store owner Brad McDaniel.
McDaniel said supplies are running so low because shipments were delayed earlier in the week due to Monday's storm.
People who are stocking up now are buying in bulk to prepare for more snowy weather on the horizon.
"I came for salt, and they didn't have any. They sold out in the first hour this morning, so we bought a sled, instead. If you can't salt, sled," said Allison Myers, a Snohomish mother of two.
While additional shipments are making their way to area stores, some, like Mike Bongi, couldn't wait.
Bongi went into flamethrower mode, buying a propane torch to melt the three inches of ice on his driveway.
"We hope we don't melt the asphalt," he said. "I'm going to extremes this year."
In Snohomish County alone, road crews have already dumped 3,300 tons of sand and salt on the roads. Another 600 tons are on the way for the coming storm.
Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said, “We ask our residents to help keep 911 lines open for emergencies. If there’s no immediate threat to life or property, community members can call the non-emergency line at 425-407-3999. That allows dispatchers to direct calls to the right resources.”