Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a busy day in north-central Montana Friday, Jan. 2, at least for emergency service providers and transportation officials, as blizzard and white-out conditions shut down highways, stopped visibility and dumped several feet of white stuff in the Havre area. “It was a busy day,” said Havre Chief of Police Jerry Nystrom. The National Weather Service Web site had no data recorded for the amount of snow Dropped, but the Great Falls office reports blowing and white-out conditions existed across most of the western part of north-central Montana. A light snow started falling by 6 or 7 a.m. Friday, with the intensity of the storm and the wind the Weather Service reports gusts of up to 55 or 60 mph in north-central Montana increasing by 9 or 10 a.m., building accumulations and creating near-no visibility conditions, with stop lights not visible one block away in Havre. The snow stopped by Saturday, but was followed by intense cold. The temperatures for Havre were a high of 10-belowzero with a low of 30-below Saturday, with Sunday’s low 16-below and a high of 17. The temperatures are predicted to moderate this week with the high today forecast at 28 with a low of 11, and temperatures in the 20s Tuesday and highs in the low 30s Wednesday and Thursday. Snow is also in the forecast, with a prediction of some snow today and Tuesday, and snow and rain Wednesday and Thursday with a chance of snow showers predicted Friday. Mike MacDonald, Havre division area maintenance chief for the Havre sector of the Montana Department of Transportation, said the conditions led to highways being closed and MDT crews working long days until about 11 Friday night and back out by 4 a.m. Saturday. “The visibility was such an issue with it, the snowing and blowing,” MacDonald said. Nystrom said the storm led to many accidents, particularly in the morning. “It dropped off in the afternoon,” he said. While no serious injuries were reported, it kept the Havre police busy along with having problems getting from Point A to Point B, Nystrom added. He said he offered to bring his four-wheel-drive truck in to use to get to incidents, but the officers were able to do their duty without it. “They got around OK ,” Nystrom said. MacDonald said the conditions led to road closures including U. S. Highway 2 from Chester to west of Dodson, and Montana Highway 66 south of Fort Belknap as well as Highway 191 south of Malta. The MDT crews were out by 4 a.m. to get the roads open again. “We opened the road back up by 7:30 Saturday morning,” he said. He said conditions improved by Saturday and Sunday, with crews now concentrating on removing drifting snow from the highways. Crews are expected to be back in Havre this week to blow off some of the the snow, as they did Friday, MacDonald said. “You can hardly tell that we did anything downtown,” he added this morning.