Winter Storm Piles Up Snow, Cars and Buses
Another difficult day driving in Western Montana. The official snow fall depth at the airport as of this morning was 11". Various locations around Missoula got more than that. At my house it looks like 15-18". Higher elevations got a lot more than that. For the better part of yesterday and last night there were reports from the Rock Creek area of snowfall rates of 1.5-2” per hour.
The Missoula street crews were out all night and the snow was coming down so fast they could plow a road and in a couple of hours it was full again. They were plowing only the major streets and couldn’t keep up with it. Officials say it could take a couple of days to clear everything once this snow stops.
In the Bitterroot Valley they got freezing rain mixed with snow along the East Side Hwy and from Hamilton south to Darby. A lot of schools tried to open today but after buses went out and reported back in, many closed for the day.
The National Weather Service said this was not a record snowfall but they did say this much snow over such a short period of time was not at all common.
Avalanche danger has increased dramatically especially in the backcountry and recreationists are being told to exercise extreme caution.
Follow these links to check out photos of road conditions provided by Montana Department of Transportation.