Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Winter rears its head in Montana

 


The first serious snowfall hit north-central Montana Tuesday, dropping a record amount of snow and dropping temperatures to winter levels.

While the warm temperatures at the start of the storm kept the accumulated levels low in the Havre area, the forecast shows no end in sight for the wintry weather in the near future, with colder weather and additional snow in the forecast.

Despite the slick, slushy conditions and wet snow freezing as the temperatures dropped, local officials said this morning the weather didn't cause many serious problems, except for some power outages and some traffic issues, mainly for semitrailers.

Assistant Police Chief Gabe Matosich said the last few days, including during the storm, have been relatively quiet at the Havre Police Department. Havre officers responded to about five crashes Tuesday, he said, much less than usual during the first serious snowstorm of the year.

"Usually each shift deals with more than five crashes," he added.

Matosich said the residents of the area usually adjust quickly to the snow and ice.

"People just need to remember to slow down, be patient, take your time," he said.

Hill County Sheriff Don Brostrom said his office did deal with more problems than usual during an early snowstorm, but in a short period of time.

He said Hill County sheriff's deputies responded to 10 or 12 calls in about half a day in the first part of the storm. Much of that was for semitrailer drivers not able to make it up hills and needing assistance from law enforcement to get out of their predicaments, he said.

"Those things are hard to drive forward, let alone back up," he said.

One incident involved two trucks trying to make it up the hill on the edge of North Havre en route toward Canada, while some others involved the Holiday Village Hill. Some incidents involved vehicles sliding off roads.

Brostrom said he believes the problems were caused by the combination of wind, wet snow and the icy roads.

"It was kind of the perfect storm," he said.

The wet, freezing snow did cause some power outages throughout the state.

Claudia Rapkoch, spokeswoman for NorthWestern Energy, said company employees had to deal with several weather-related problems. That included isolated outages throughout the front edge of the storm throughout the state, including a few in Havre. Those were of fairly short duration, she added.

A more serious outage occurred west of Havre, when a transmission line went down. That interrupted service west of Havre until the line could be repaired.

Denise Kovacich, communications specialist at Hill County Electric and Triangle Communications said the storm interrupted electrical service for about 30 customers. Some Hill County Electric customers in the Kremlin and west Joplin area also were affected by the NorthWestern Energy transmission problem, which affected those Hill County Electric customers.

She said Triangle Communications had not received any reports of loss of telephone service.

Havre and Hill County employees also were out dealing with the snow on roads and streets.

Havre Deputy Public Works Director Jeff Jensen said the snow and ice did lead to the closure of Hospital Hill on 14th Street west of 5th Avenue. That was re-opened by 7 a.m. today after city employees could finish grading and sanding it, he said.

Employees were out grading and sanding main routes Tuesday.

"We just waited until it slowed down a bit, then got two patrols out to plow main routes and do some sanding," Jensen said.

The city employees were back out this morning and would continue that work, Jensen said.

Jerry Otto, supervisor of the Hill County Road and Bridge Department, said employees from his department also were out grading and sanding Tuesday and would continue that work today.

"From noon on, I guess, we were out," Otto said.

The National Weather Service reports that 12 inches of snow — a new record for Nov. 16 — fell at its Havre weather reporting station at the Havre City-County Airport. The low temperature was reported at 16 degrees, with a high Tuesday of 39 — a temperature that steadily dropped through the late morning and afternoon.

The snow translated to .29 inches of precipitation — another record for Havre on that date.

The National Weather Service forecast this morning showed no break in the wintry weather in the near future, with predicted temperatures dropping from Tuesday's forecast.

The high for today was forecast for 23 degrees, with a low of 21 degrees tonight and snow predicted throughout the day.

The forecast high for Thursday is 26 degrees, down from the high of 38 degrees which was forecast Tuesday, with the low dropping to a cold zero degrees and a chance of rain and snow throughout the day and a slight chance of snow Thursday night.

The Weather Service predicts the temperatures will continue to drop, with lows predicted at zero again Friday night and -2 degrees Saturday night, with highs in the single digits through early next week and lows dropping to well below zero. The forecast low for Monday night is a bitter -13.

A chance of new snowfall is forecast into early next week. The weather service reports that a new storm will develop Friday with the potential to drop some heavy snowfall throughout north-central and central Montana, extending to the southern border of the state.

The long-range forecast for the Havre area predicts below normal temperatures — norms for highs this time of year are for the low 30s to mid-40s, with lows 10 to the mid-20s — and above-average precipitation.

The first serious snowfall hit north-central Montana Tuesday, dropping a record amount of snow and dropping temperatures to winter levels.

While the warm temperatures at the start of the storm kept the accumulated levels low in the Havre area, the forecast shows no end in sight for the wintry weather in the near future, with colder weather and additional snow in the forecast.

Despite the slick, slushy conditions and wet snow freezing as the temperatures dropped, local officials said this morning the weather didn't cause many serious problems, except for some power outages and some traffic issues, mainly for semitrailers.

Assistant Police Chief Gabe Matosich said the last few days, including during the storm, have been relatively quiet at the Havre Police Department. Havre officers responded to about five crashes Tuesday, he said, much less than usual during the first serious snowstorm of the year.

"Usually each shift deals with more than five crashes," he added.

Matosich said the residents of the area usually adjust quickly to the snow and ice.

"People just need to remember to slow down, be patient, take your time," he said.

Hill County Sheriff Don Brostrom said his office did deal with more problems than usual during an early snowstorm, but in a short period of time.

He said Hill County sheriff's deputies responded to 10 or 12 calls in about half a day in the first part of the storm. Much of that was for semitrailer drivers not able to make it up hills and needing assistance from law enforcement to get out of their predicaments, he said.

"Those things are hard to drive forward, let alone back up," he said.

One incident involved two trucks trying to make it up the hill on the edge of North Havre en route toward Canada, while some others involved the Holiday Village Hill. Some incidents involved vehicles sliding off roads.

Brostrom said he believes the problems were caused by the combination of wind, wet snow and the icy roads.

"It was kind of the perfect storm," he said.

The wet, freezing snow did cause some power outages throughout the state.

Claudia Rapkoch, spokeswoman for NorthWestern Energy, said company employees had to deal with several weather-related problems. That included isolated outages throughout the front edge of the storm throughout the state, including a few in Havre. Those were of fairly short duration, she added.

A more serious outage occurred west of Havre, when a transmission line went down. That interrupted service west of Havre until the line could be repaired.

Denise Kovacich, communications specialist at Hill County Electric and Triangle Communications said the storm interrupted electrical service for about 30 customers. Some Hill County Electric customers in the Kremlin and west Joplin area also were affected by the NorthWestern Energy transmission problem, which affected those Hill County Electric customers.

She said Triangle Communications had not received any reports of loss of telephone service.

Havre and Hill County employees also were out dealing with the snow on roads and streets.

Havre Deputy Public Works Director Jeff Jensen said the snow and ice did lead to the closure of Hospital Hill on 14th Street west of 5th Avenue. That was re-opened by 7 a.m. today after city employees could finish grading and sanding it, he said.

Employees were out grading and sanding main routes Tuesday.

"We just waited until it slowed down a bit, then got two patrols out to plow main routes and do some sanding," Jensen said.

The city employees were back out this morning and would continue that work, Jensen said.

Jerry Otto, supervisor of the Hill County Road and Bridge Department, said employees from his department also were out grading and sanding Tuesday and would continue that work today.

"From noon on, I guess, we were out," Otto said.

The National Weather Service reports that 12 inches of snow — a new record for Nov. 16 — fell at its Havre weather reporting station at the Havre City-County Airport. The low temperature was reported at 16 degrees, with a high Tuesday of 39 — a temperature that steadily dropped through the late morning and afternoon.

The snow translated to .29 inches of precipitation — another record for Havre on that date.

The National Weather Service forecast this morning showed no break in the wintry weather in the near future, with predicted temperatures dropping from Tuesday's forecast.

The high for today was forecast for 23 degrees, with a low of 21 degrees tonight and snow predicted throughout the day.

The forecast high for Thursday is 26 degrees, down from the high of 38 degrees which was forecast Tuesday, with the low dropping to a cold zero degrees and a chance of rain and snow throughout the day and a slight chance of snow Thursday night.

The Weather Service predicts the temperatures will continue to drop, with lows predicted at zero again Friday night and -2 degrees Saturday night, with highs in the single digits through early next week and lows dropping to well below zero. The forecast low for Monday night is a bitter -13.

A chance of new snowfall is forecast into early next week. The weather service reports that a new storm will develop Friday with the potential to drop some heavy snowfall throughout north-central and central Montana, extending to the southern border of the state.

The long-range forecast for the Havre area predicts below normal temperatures — norms for highs this time of year are for the low 30s to mid-40s, with lows 10 to the mid-20s — and above-average precipitation.

 
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