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Western Montana roads slammed by winter weather

Posted: 6:34 AM, Feb 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-26 09:14:46-05

MISSOULA – A combination of heavy snow and winds continued to make travel across Western Montana a chore into the early morning hours with drivers coping with blowing and drifting snow, and even a freeway closure.

Snow was continuing to come down across the western half of the state with all roads covered in a combination of snowpack and ice, and on the side roads and streets, a lot of loose snow.

But by far the biggest problem is the blowing and drifting snow. In places like downtown Missoula, the gusty outflow winds made driving a real challenge. The snowy onslaught also means most of the intersections are very icy, making stops and starts uncertain.

Severe driving conditions were reported at times late Monday in places like the Upper Clark Fork and the Deer Lodge Valley on Interstate 90. Interstate 15 was completely closed south of Dillion over Monida Pass to Dubois, Idaho because of the high winds and drifting snow.

Missoula County has had to close a number of roads both east and west of the city until plow operations catch up and conditions were described as “extremely hazardous” late on Monday.

Roller Coaster Road, Deschamps Lane, Moccasin Lane, Loiselle Lane, and Deer Creek Lane near East Missoula were among the local roads closed.

A MEANS Alert was issued on Monday afternoon for the Missoula area due to blowing and drifting snow that made driving conditions hazardous throughout Missoula County with some roads rendered impassable.

A snow emergency was declared in Hamilton on Monday and the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office was advising “emergency travel only” in the Bitterroot Valley.