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Entries in Montana snow (109)


Snow, ice and cold bring winter driving back to MT

Snow covers summit at Lost Trail Pass this morning- IDT photo(MISSOULA)- A combination of rain turning over to snow, coupled with a strong push of Arctic air is giving Montanans their first winter driving experiences in the valleys this morning.

Heavy rains that moved through the area Sunday turned over to snow as an Arctic Front pushed out of Canada overnight. That created a dangerous combination of snow with ice underneath throughout the western half of the state. Passes over the Bitterroot Divide, and the Continental Divide were all covered with snow and ice, with the icy driving conditions extending down into the valleys. 

I-90 over Lookout Pass had snow covered roads with icy spots, although roads were bare and wet from St. Regis east to Frenchtown. From Missoula through the Upper Clark Fork Valley to Deer Lodge the freeway was covered with snow and ice. 

I-15 also had snow and ice from the Idaho border all the way north to Canada. The Montana Department of Transportation was reporting blowing snow with reduced visibility in Clark Canyon south of Dillon. 

Other secondary highways such as U.S. 12, 2 and 93 as well as state highways were all snow and ice covered. 

Snow has tapered off this morning, but with temperatures expected to drop in to the single digits Tuesday morning, icy driving conditions are expected to continue. 


Cold weather to continue for another day in Western MT

Snow dotted the landscape at the Apgar Lookout Tuesday- GNP webcam photo(MISSOULA)- If you didn't find your coat Tuesday, keep looking for it. Forecasters say another day of cold weather is expected on Wednesday. 

Montanans know it can snow any month of the year. But it was still a surprise when parts of the higher elevations were coated in several inches of snow on Tuesday. A very strong, and cold, Pacific front pushed through the area, pushing snow levels down to as low as 5,000 feet. Snow was quite scattered, except for the areas along the Northern Divide and Glacier National Park. That's where anywhere from 5 to 10" of new snow was reported. Elsewhere heavy rain fell, with some spots seeing up to an inch.

That's renewed some concerns about small stream flooding, slides and other problems, especially in the backcountry of the park and the regions surrounding the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. 

The National Weather Service says more high country snow is possible Wednesday, although heavy rain, especially over the Northern Rockies closest to the border. Conditions are expected to warm up Thursday. 


Colder weather raises backcountry danger

Stormy weather expected to develop in the high country overnight- GNP photo(MISSOULA)- People headed into the mountains of Western Montana will need to use an extra dose of caution, and winter gear this week, as a cold Pacific storm system will create some dangerous conditions for the unprepared through Wednesday. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the east side of Glacier National Park extending south through the Bob Marshall Wilderness, with forecasts for up to 20-inches of snow possible between tonight and Wednesday. NWS forecasters in Great Falls say the potent system is bringing widespread precipitation, combining with below average temperatures. That's going to push snow levels to as low as 6,000 feet Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Forecasters say that could bring up to a "foot or more" of snow along the eastern slopes from the Northern Rocky Mountain Front through the Southern Front and Bob Marshall to the upper portions of the Blackfoot watershed. The general estimate is for between 10-to-20 inches of snow before the storm passes. 

Wet mountain snow is also expected to fall through the high country of Northwest Montana down to as low as 5,000 feet. 

The turn to wintry weather will raise the potential for hypothermia for hikers, climbers and others who aren't prepared for the cold, wet conditions. It also means drivers on passes like Marias and Rogers could run into slush on the road along with reduced visibility.  


Winter driving again in some Montana locations 

Snow was on the menu Monday morning on Lost Trail Pass- IDT photo(MISSOULA)- Drivers over Lost Trail Pass were checking the date this morning when they ran into snowy and icy conditions instead of a pleasant spring morning. 

Continued cold temperatures combined with early morning showers Monday to coat Highway 93 where it crosses the Idaho-Montana border with snow. The same was true over Chief Joseph Pass, which is slightly higher than Lost Trail and carries traffic east into the Big Hole Valley.

Bare pavement had started to show by late morning as temperatures started to climb. 

Lolo Pass also received some early morning snow showers, but the road remained bare and wet. There were no reports of snow falling on Lookout, or any of the other mountain passes over the Divide. 

However, drivers the Yellowstone Park region, in the Bozeman area, and in Eastern and especially Northeastern Montana were also dealing with snow on the roads. 


The brush with winter is expected to be short lived, with warmer temperatures and sunshine in the forecast this week. 


Great Falls Schools to review storm closure policy

Great Falls has seen severe weather throughout the winter- KRTV photo(GREAT FALLS)- After an exceptionally bad winter, Great Falls Schools administrators are agreeing to review the district's policies for canceling classes. 

KRTV reports the review comes after some community members have expressed concerns about the district's process for deciding when to close schools because of winter weather. Of particular issue was the death of CM Russell High School senior Samantha Sipes, who was killed in a car crash on a day when buses weren't operating on her street but classes were still in session. 

A special task force is being assigned by the superintendent to look into the issues. 

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