By NIKKI YOUNK
FLORENCE, Wis. - Due to the current propane shortage in the area and bitter cold temperatures in the forecast, Florence County authorities are ready to make heated shelter available for any residents who need it.
Any residents who need shelter should contact the Florence County Sheriff's Department at 1-800-235-9897.
Florence County Sheriff Jeff Rickaby said that he was made aware this morning that one propane supplier in the county has turned down at least 80 new requests for gas in the last 24 hours.
The business is saving its supply for established customers, he explained.
Rickaby added that some other smaller suppliers in the area have completely run out of propane.
"We're suggesting that residents conserve the gas they have now and to look at safe, supplementary ways to heat their homes, such as approved indoor electric heaters," he said.
Brandon Scholz, managing director of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association, told Wisconsin Public Radio on Wednesday that demand for propane is now higher than it's ever been after repeated blasts of arctic cold.
Supply problems are causing a ripple effect, he added.
"So what we have is propane that's being produced on a continuing basis going to the pipeline and going to the terminals," Scholz said. "Everybody is working on, essentially, what's being produced; there is no excess supply."
With terminals running out of propane, prices are skyrocketing.
According to Rickaby, prices are around $4.80 per gallon.
Although high temperatures are expected to reach 18 degrees on Friday, high temperatures in the single digits or below are predicted for this weekend and early next week. Overnight lows may hit 15 degrees below zero.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.