Nov 23, 2010 11:41 AM by Mark Thorsell (KPAX Media Center)

Western MT roads a mess, many schools close

UPDATED: MISSOULA - Winter's blast is hitting Western Montana in full force in what could be one of the worst storms to hit our area in years.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Department and the Missoula Police Department are advising all drivers to use emergency travel only due to the inclement weather.

Officials say that if you do need to head out on the roadways on Tuesday morning you should exercise extreme caution.

The heavy, blowing snow is creating low visibility and the single-digit temperatures are creating really slick conditions.

The Montana Department of Transportation reports that south of Missoula, Highway 93 from Stevensville to Missoula has severe driving conditions reported with heavy snow, blowing and drifting snow with snowpacked and icy roads.

Eastside Highway also has severe driving conditions due to heavy snow, blowing and drifting snow with snowpacked and icy roads.

School closures and delays

We have confirmed with the University of Montana that classes will go on as scheduled in Missoula, however some may end up being cancelled if the professor and/or teacher can not make it into the University due to the road conditions.

Missoula County Public Schools report on their website that classes have been cancelled for Tuesday. Loyola and St Joseph schools in Missoula are also closed for the day. The Beach Transportation website reports that Target Range School is also closed.

We have received a call from Victor schools reporting that they will not hold classes today. Valley Christian and Lone Rock school have also called off classes for Tuesday.

Woodman School has been delayed for two hours as has the opening of Corvallis schools. Stevensville schools are also delayed two hours and we're being told that buses will not be running.

Several area schools have called to let us know that they plan to hold classes as normal. Lolo School, Hellgate District 4, Bonner School, Clinton and Florence schools will hold classes as normally planned.

Other closures/delays

The North Valley Public Library in Stevensville will be closed due to weather on Tuesday.

Finally, The CSKT has decided to delay the work day until 10 a.m. this morning according to the tribe's Rob McDonald.

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