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Winter weather bears down, blzzard warning, power outage

Posted at 2:28 PM, Feb 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 12:58:54-05
Lookout Pass
The view at Lookout Pass on 2.3.19. (MDT photo)

MISSOULA – The wind, snow, blowing snow and Arctic cold are causing issues on the roads and knocked out power in Western Montana.

Authorities issued a MEANS Alert on Sunday afternoon warning of low visibility, blowing snow, extreme winds and black ice on Interstate 90 from Missoula to past Clinton. Drivers were urged to driving speeds through the area.

Earlier on Sunday, a MEANS Alert was issued at the request of the Montana Highway Patrol in the area of mile marker 107, just east of Missoula. due visibility that had dropped to ¼ mile due to blowing snow.

The Missoula County 911 Center also issued a MEANS Alert for the northern part of Missoula due to hazardous driving conditions.

Drivers were also being told to avoid the traffic lights on Broadway in the area of Van Buren, Madison and  Pattee streets.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement that Hodgeson Road will be closed at 3:30 p.m. due to high winds until further notice.

Icy roads and poor travel conditions were also being reported in the Bitterroot Valley by the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office.

NorthWestern Energy was reporting nearly 2,200 customers were without power in and around downtown Missoula.

The National Weather Service has also issued a Blizzard Warning for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys until 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Heavy snow and blizzard conditions expected in the Missoula  Valley with winds gusting as high as 60 mph in Missoula, especially near Hellgate Canyon, downtown Missoula, and the Rattlesnake.

Additional snow accumulations of 3″-to-5″ of snow is expected in the  Missoula and Bitterroot valleys. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph are possible in the Bitterroot Valley.

A Winter Strom Warning remains in effect until 2 p.m. on Monday as well.

Difficult travel conditions will continue with blowing snow significantly reducing visibility. The cold wind chills as low as 15 below zero could result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken.

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 511 or by clicking here.