DILLON – The American Red Cross of Montana has opened a shelter at Keltz Arena in Dillon in response to blizzard-like conditions that have led to the closure of I-15 from Dillon south, over Monida Pass and into Idaho.
A severe winter storm is bringing considerable heavy snow and blowing and drifting snow throughout the area.
Red Cross shelters provide meals, a safe place to stay, information and access to other community resources. Everyone is welcome at a Red Cross shelter, and all services are free.
Families who need services should call the Montana Red Cross at 800-272-6668.
DRIVING IN WINTER
While the Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible, if you must drive in snow, follow these tips:
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along with your predetermined route.
- If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges, and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:
- Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
- If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
- Keep one window slightly open — away from the blowing wind — to let in air.
-Meteorologist Mike Heard