Feb 7, 2011 3:22 PM by KPAX Media Center
MISSOULA - The latest wintry blast from Mother Nature is still dumping snow across Western Montana.
Some eight inches of snow had already fallen as of midday Monday at Mullan Pass and Lolo Pass while one report from the National Weather Service showed that about a foot of the white stuff had fallen near Essex in Northwestern Montana.
The valley locations weren't seeing quite as much snow with 4.5 inches reported at Swan Lake and 4 inches reported on the ground at Missoula International Airport. Some 3.5 inches were being reported in Thompson Falls while 2.8 inches had fallen in Ronan and an even 2 inches of snow was on the ground in Hamilton.
The timing of the latest storm has been posing problems for drivers with the morning commute from Lolo to Missoula being especially hit hard early Monday.
Traffic had thinned out by mid-day on Monday but the accidents were piling up. Several slide off accidents and fender benders were reported throughout the morning and early afternoon on Missoula's streets. One morning mishap involved a Mountain Lion bus hitting a parked car, no injuries were reported in that accident.
Meanwhile, the Montana Highway Patrol was busy on Monday as well. Accidents were reported on Interstate 90 in the East Missoula and Clinton areas. Crashes were also reported on U.S. Highway 93 in Lolo and on the Eastside Highway in Crovallis.
A semi truck slid on icy roads along I-90 near mile marker 5 in Mineral County on Monday morning, clokcing both lanes of the freeway near Lookout Pass for several hours.