Strong winds leave thousands without power in Bitterroot - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Strong winds leave thousands without power in Bitterroot

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STEVENSVILLE - Damaging winds across the northern half of Montana wreaked havoc on Tuesday, causing power outages and made driving treacherous along Highway 93 in the Bitterroot.

In Stevensville, wind gusts knocked over a large tree creating a dangerous situation as wires were down across a four-block area.  

"For now, the power line company is advising us to stay away from any wire even if they are benign because with wires touching each other any wire could be hot at this time," Stevensville Rural Fire Captain Bob Thola said on Tuesday.

 Thola says crews responded at around 5 p.m. to reports of the fallen tree and immediately blocked off any dangerous areas with wires.

As crews were responding to this situation, another tree fell into the middle of the Stevensville Cut Off Road creating a line of traffic, as residents waited to return home.  Thola said there were many serious issues caused by the weather, including power outages at stop lights along Highway 93.

"Any traffic signal that is inoperative needs to be treated as a four-way stop," Thola said. "Everyone needs to stop or proceed with caution in these situations."

The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office reported that power lines came down in the wind in the Stevensville and Florence areas and at one point power outages were reported from From Victor to Florence.

According to the NorthWestern Energy and Ravalli Electric Cooperative outage viewers, nearly all customers in Ravalli County has their power back on as of Wednesday morning. 

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