WEST GLACIER — Glacier National Park is reminding visitors to use caution as a significant winter storm is expected to arrive on Friday night.
The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Heavy snow is expected with a total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet with locally higher amounts on higher peaks and mountain passes. Valley locations will see 3 to 6 inches. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph, up to 55 mph in Bad Rock Canyon.
The NWS notes that travel could be very difficult to impossible and areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Gusty winds could also bring down tree branches.
People are being discouraged from embarking on extended hikes at Glacier National Park and should dress for snow and freezing temperatures, and plan to be self-sufficient.
The park anticipates that Two Medicine Road, Many Glacier Road, and a large portion of Going-to-the-Sun Road will be closed for the duration of the storm.
The Logan Pass Visitor Center is likely closed for the season while the Apgar and St. Mary visitor centers are anticipated to continue operating. The Two Medicine, St. Mary, and Many Glacier backcountry permit offices have closed for the season one day early.
Many Glacier and Two Medicine Campgrounds are also closed in advance of the storm. They may reopen for fall primitive camping when the storm passes and road and weather conditions improve.
St. Mary Campground remains open, though camping is discouraged during the storm. Some campgrounds west of the Continental Divide are still open including Apgar Campground and primitive camping in the North Fork, weather dependent.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road has been closed between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass for the last two weeks while undergoing pavement preservation work.
Though that work was scheduled to conclude Sunday, it is possible that the road will not reopen on Sept. 30, depending on the amount of snowfall in higher elevation park areas.
The alpine section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road typically closes for the season in mid-October, providing time for crews to install snow poles and remove guardrails in advance of winter avalanches.
Glacier National Park’s road status webpage and recreation access display page are currently unavailable due to a technical difficulty with a server in Washington, D.C.
While those webpages are unavailable, the public should monitor park social media pages for important road and other visitor access updates.