GREAT FALLS (AP) — Strong winds caused travel difficulties and power outages across Montana on Wednesday.
A combination of gusty winds and slick roads caused a school bus to run off U.S. Highway 2 near Browning on Wednesday morning, the Montana Highway Patrol said. None of the students on the bus was injured.
In the Missoula area, Missoula County deputies and the highway patrol responded to more than a dozen slide-offs as light rain caused a layer of black ice to form on Interstate 90.
"The worst areas we saw were east of Bonner on I-90 and west of Frenchtown," said sheriff's spokesman Jason Johnson. "People were sliding off all over the place."
In one case, a semi hauling fuel slid into the median east of Missoula and began leaking fuel from both tanks. The driver suffered minor injuries, Johnson said.
High wind warnings were in effect along the Rocky Mountain Front and across eastern Montana.
The Department of Transportation closed a 40-mile stretch of U.S. 191 from Harlowton to the junction with U.S. 87 due to high winds on Wednesday afternoon. There was no detour available.
Interstate 90 near Livingston also was closed for a time Wednesday morning, with traffic being re-routed through Livingston.
NorthWestern Energy spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said high winds knocked down three power poles affecting a small number of customers in Monarch, while a broken pole was reported in Cascade. Traffic lights were out at a few intersections in Great Falls.
"We're just getting hammered with high wind," Rapkoch said.