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Something to consider: Your average rock salt may not be effective when temperatures dip below zero

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WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- The hottest place in town when the arctic air moves in and temperatures plummet may very well be your local hardware store! Snow this past weekend, and more in the forecast for Monday night had pallets of salt being sold in a matter of minutes at the True Value store in Wauwatosa, but unfortunately salt doesn't work when temperatures dip into the single digits, and wind chills dip below zero.

Some Milwaukee-area hardware stores saw a bit of a lull in December, with no snowfall to bring the customers in. But as 2015 has begun, the mad rush is in full force.

"People are freaking out.  They`re hearing that there`s a shortage," Rodney French said.

There was a steady stream of customers hitting up Puhl's True Value in Wauwatosa on Monday, January 5th. It was one of the places in town where the supply met the demand. French keeps his salt stocked, especially before and after a major snowfall.

"I can go through, in a half-hour, 100 bags," French said.

The snowfall we saw this weekend has created challenges for some.

"We started having trouble getting up the driveway," Topher Doerr said.

Packed snow and ice throughout Milwaukee County have the Post Office reminding folks to clear walkways and sidewalks for postal carriers.

"Make sure the area around that box is accessible for that carrier,"

Folks should be aware that even if you do toss down some salt, it may not do any good when temperatures and wind chills are below zero.

"Your regular rock salt only works to about five above.  It`s just going to sit until it gets warmer," French said.

And as the temperatures drop, you'll have to pay more for premium stuff that will get the job done. It can cost twice as much as the average rock salt, but will work best as the mercury falls.

"Magnesium Chloride goes to about 15 below air temperature.  The Calcium Chloride goes to about 25 below," French said.

Last year at this time there was a salt shortage -- especially at some of the big box stores like Home Depot.

Store owners say sometimes the previous year's snow dictates the current year's sales -- at least in terms of snow blowers.

With 2014 still a standout year, those too are currently flying off the shelves.