By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Heavy snowfall that missed Christmas by one day kept city, county and state crews busy plowing roads over the weekend. More snow removal is planned for the next few days.
Snow accumulation from the storm that began Friday evening ranged from about 12 inches in Havre by today to 14 inches in Chinook by Saturday evening, and as much as 26 inches in the Bear Paw Mountains.
Ligia Arango, who lives in the Bear Paws, said the storm stranded her in Havre for an extra day. She was taking care of some children Friday night for a friend who works at Northern Montana Hospital. When she called her husband, Mike Ley, Saturday to tell him she was coming home, he told her to wait until he checked the road.
His pickup got stuck in the driveway.
"Mike said, 'I don't think you should leave yet," she said.
She returned home about 3:30 p.m. Sunday after the roads were plowed.
"It was an amazing amount of snow," she said this morning. "It's snowing now."
The National Weather Service is predicting snowfall of about 1 to 5 inches in the plains across Montana today and tonight, with accumulations up to a foot in the mountains. Light snow with little accumulation is expected through the rest of the week.
Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher said the snow has kept county employees busy.
"Most of our crews were working through the weekend into the nights trying to get people freed up," he said. "And they're still out there today."
The highway south of town through Beaver Creek Park is cleared to Taylor Road at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, but is closed from Taylor Road to the ski bowl. Kaercher said that road should be cleared later this week.
The county is working to clear Sucker Creek Road today. Clear Creek Road was open to the Davey School and a crew will clear it to the Blaine County line today. A crew is working on finishing the upper end of Bullhook Road today, Kaercher said.
Dave Peterson, Havre's director of public works, said city crews were working all weekend to get main traffic routes cleared. The city had three sanding trucks and a snowplow out, and will continue to work to clear streets and sand intersections.
The Montana Department of Transportation clears First Street and Fifth and 14th avenues in Havre.
The Public Works Department is asking people to remove their cars from streets where crews will be removing snow Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the city will remove snow from Fourth Street between Third and Fourth avenues, on Fourth Avenue between First and Fourth streets, and on most of Main Street from about Montana Avenue to Sixth Avenue. People are asked to remove their vehicles from those areas Monday evening.
On Wednesday, the city will remove snow on Third Avenue from Fourth to 10th streets and on 10th Street from First to Fifth avenues. People are asked to remove their cars from those areas Tuesday evening.
City officials in Chinook said their crews were also working to clear streets all weekend, and are working again today.
Havre Assistant Police Chief Mike Barthel said incidents related to the snow kept officers busy Saturday. Officers responded to 27 weather-related calls for assistance, including four accidents, between midnight Friday and midnight Saturday.
"They were a little busy," he said.
Also, he said, a vehicle slid into a natural gas junction box and ruptured a natural gas line near Tire-Rama on First Street at 12:42 p.m. Saturday.