Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Authorities warn drivers to use caution

 


The winter weather has set in early this year, and the head of Montana's law enforcement agencies is warning people to use caution during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Of course, we all want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with family, but be careful driving across the state this week, " Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said in a press release.

With the winter storm hitting last week, Montana's law enforcement and emergency services personnel were especially busy over the weekend. The number of calls for crashes to the Montana Highway Patrol averaged out to one every eight minutes over the weekend, with some tragic results.

Two people died in separate crashes over the weekend and 44 more were injured.

Along with the recommendations to drive safely — or to stay home — emergency agencies also recommend people prepare their car, including having an emergency kit.

Along with making sure vehicles are winterized — having the batteries, antifreeze levels, tires and brakes, thermostat, and so on, checked — the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends keeping the following items in a vehicle before leaving on a winter trip:

A shovel; scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with pocket knife; necessary medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; and a fluorescent distress flag.

Some agencies are presenting conflicting forecasts for the week, with American Profile Weather predicting a warmer spell by Thursday with a high of 27 on Thanksgiving Day and highs in the 30s by Friday and Saturday.

However, the National Weather Service has updated its forecast to show no break in the weather in the near future, with the entire state in one kind or another of a winter weather warning for today and the forecast continuing to predict cold weather through the weekend.

A blizzard warning is in effect for today from Dillon and Bozeman north and west through Missoula to Kalispell.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of the region surrounding the blizzard warning, and stretching from Butte up to the northeast through Fergus, Phillips and Valley counties and across the northern part of Montana into North Dakota.

Most of the rest of the state — including Blaine, Hill, Chouteau and Liberty counties, stretching west into the Rocky Mountains — is in a winter weather advisory.

The forecast for most of the state predicts snow to taper off after tonight, with none forecast in the Havre area until the weekend. With the end of the snow will come bitter temperatures, the National Weather service is forecasting.

The Weather Service predicted the low in Havre tonight at -18, with a high Wednesday of zero and a low Wednesday night of -17.

The Weather Service predicts a high of 10 on Thanksgiving Day, with highs in the 20s for Friday through the early part of next week.

The Montana Highway Department road report webpage is showing trouble conditions across the state as well.

The map lists most highways as having scattered snow and ice, snow and ice, black ice or snowpack across the state. Green-marked areas of "Dry or Mostly Dry" are small and rare, and markings of reduced visibility are common.

Bullock said people, before they travel, should check the road conditions at the website, which has updated maps of road conditions, webcams with real-time photos of certain dangerous stretches and other useful information. People also can dial 511 from any phone to get updated winter travel information.

He also urged people to "drive smart, " or, if the weather is really bad, to not drive at all.

——— On the Net: Great Falls Weather Service: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/tfx/ Montana Department of Transportation Road Reports:. mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/ FEMA Winter preparedness: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/winter/wi_before.shtm

The winter weather has set in early this year, and the head of Montana's law enforcement agencies is warning people to use caution during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Of course, we all want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with family, but be careful driving across the state this week, " Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said in a press release.

With the winter storm hitting last week, Montana's law enforcement and emergency services personnel were especially busy over the weekend. The number of calls for crashes to the Montana Highway Patrol averaged out to one every eight minutes over the weekend, with some tragic results.

Two people died in separate crashes over the weekend and 44 more were injured.

Along with the recommendations to drive safely — or to stay home — emergency agencies also recommend people prepare their car, including having an emergency kit.

Along with making sure vehicles are winterized — having the batteries, antifreeze levels, tires and brakes, thermostat, and so on, checked — the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends keeping the following items in a vehicle before leaving on a winter trip:

A shovel; scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with pocket knife; necessary medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; and a fluorescent distress flag.

Some agencies are presenting conflicting forecasts for the week, with American Profile Weather predicting a warmer spell by Thursday with a high of 27 on Thanksgiving Day and highs in the 30s by Friday and Saturday.

However, the National Weather Service has updated its forecast to show no break in the weather in the near future, with the entire state in one kind or another of a winter weather warning for today and the forecast continuing to predict cold weather through the weekend.

A blizzard warning is in effect for today from Dillon and Bozeman north and west through Missoula to Kalispell.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of the region surrounding the blizzard warning, and stretching from Butte up to the northeast through Fergus, Phillips and Valley counties and across the northern part of Montana into North Dakota.

Most of the rest of the state — including Blaine, Hill, Chouteau and Liberty counties, stretching west into the Rocky Mountains — is in a winter weather advisory.

The forecast for most of the state predicts snow to taper off after tonight, with none forecast in the Havre area until the weekend. With the end of the snow will come bitter temperatures, the National Weather service is forecasting.

The Weather Service predicted the low in Havre tonight at -18, with a high Wednesday of zero and a low Wednesday night of -17.

The Weather Service predicts a high of 10 on Thanksgiving Day, with highs in the 20s for Friday through the early part of next week.

The Montana Highway Department road report webpage is showing trouble conditions across the state as well.

The map lists most highways as having scattered snow and ice, snow and ice, black ice or snowpack across the state. Green-marked areas of "Dry or Mostly Dry" are small and rare, and markings of reduced visibility are common.

Bullock said people, before they travel, should check the road conditions at the website, which has updated maps of road conditions, webcams with real-time photos of certain dangerous stretches and other useful information. People also can dial 511 from any phone to get updated winter travel information.

He also urged people to "drive smart, " or, if the weather is really bad, to not drive at all.


On the Net: Great Falls Weather ServiceMontana Department of Transportation Road ReportsFEMA Winter preparedness

On the Net:

Great Falls Weather Service

Montana Department of Transportation Road Reports

FEMA Winter preparedness

 
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