First the schools shut down because of the blizzard and now this; many Missoula government buildings are being closed as the blizzard intensifies. Here's a brief update on how authorities are dealing with the snow...

"In the interest of public and employee safety, Missoula County Commissioners have closed all non-essential County departments for the rest of the day in accordance with County policy," said Missoula County spokeswoman Anne Hughes. "The closure includes all administrative departments at 199 West Pine Street and departments in the Courthouse including the Clerk and Recorder, Elections, County Attorney, Clerk of Court, District Court, and Justice Court. All essential County services will continue to function including the Sheriff's Department, 9-1-1 Emergency Services, and the Road Department."

The city is beefing up its snow response as well, with 24-hour snow plowing and extra staff returning phone calls for assistance. Here's some of the highlghts of how the city is dealing with the issue:

  • City staff are returning calls made to the Streets Division main number at 552-6360. Callers will hear back as soon as is practical. The phone will be staffed during business hours through the weekend. People who have emergencies that require them to leave home should call 911.
  • City plows are working on high-traffic streets first and moving through the priority list. Blowing and drifting snow is requiring plows to return for repeat plowing to keep the main streets open. Plow drivers are doing their best to minimize creating berms.
  • Parks and Recreation Department plow crews have pulled off plowing trails because of dangerous conditions. They are concentrating on sidewalks and pedestrian access to bus routes. They’ll work through the weekend with the hope of having commuter routes open by Monday, weather permitting.
  • Pedestrians should use extra care, especially in places where they are sharing the roadway.Wear reflective clothing and lights at night.
  •  Mountain Line buses are running at no charge, and we urge the public to take advantage.
  • City management has been in touch with Missoula Emergency Services, offering to assign a plow dedicated to emergency responders, and we’ve been assured that ambulances are getting around without difficulty.
  • Currents Aquatics Center will close at 2 p.m. today. Staff will reevaluate conditions on Saturday morning and will reopen at noon Saturday if weather permits. Please check the City of Missoula website and Facebook or local news media for updates. All recreation programs at the Sports & Wellness Center are canceled through Saturday.

All U.S.P.S. mail carriers went out on their routes this morning, but due to un-plowed roads and snow plowed in front of mailboxes there will likely be delays and/or nondelivery to many areas.

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