Few tire chains left in Whatcom County; tons of sand and salt poured onto roads

If you still don’t have chains, sand or other snow-driving tools, you’re probably out of luck until the snow is gone.

After calls to various automotive and department stores on Monday, Dec. 22, Schucks Auto Parts on Guide Meridian was the only one contacted that still had chains, and it has a limited selection.

“Unfortunately a lot of stores are out, and we have a limited supply,” said Kelly Rhoades, a parts technician at the Bellingham store. “We had tons and tons of chain, but we sold so many (last week).”

Over the weekend while several inches of snow was falling, Rhoades said a lot of people were also coming in for wiper blades, de-icer and snow shovels. And people were still looking for items Monday morning – a line of cars was waiting at 7 a.m. for the Les Schwab tires on Meridian Street to open.

And while drivers were looking for ways to make driving in snow easier, snow removal crews were working around the clock.

Since the first major snow storm arrived on Saturday, Dec. 13, state Department of Transportation crews have used about 2,700 tons of sand, 5,800 gallons of liquid deicer and 500 tons of salt on Whatcom County highways.

Whatcom County Public Works crews have used an estimated 1,500 tons of sand and salt mixture on local roads, with 12 sand and plow trucks and two other snow removal vehicles running 24 hours-a-day, said Jeff Gollen, assistant superintendent of maintenance and operations. Each 12-hour shift has about 30 people.

“We were kind of ahead of the game before the snow hit us again on Saturday night and Sunday,” he said. “We’ve been frantically at it since Sun-day morning.”And when asked where the exceptionally bad spots were, Gollen had a rather bleak answer.

“South of the Canadian border and north of the Skagit line.”