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Storm cleanup, recovery continues

Havre and towns in north-central Montana are dealing with the havoc left by the record-breaking snowstorm that hit the area Monday and Tuesday.

A major task for city officials and workers is getting debris cleaned out of city streets to permit safe travel.

Officials from the City of Havre Public Work and the Havre Police Department have asked, in separate statements, that people refrain from putting branches and debris from their yards on the boulevards or the alleys. City workers are clearing the streets and getting rid of debris from boulevards throughout the city on priority routes first.

"Out main priority at this time is able to clear the streets and provide safe travel throughout the city and safe bus routes for our students," a statement from the City of Havre said.

Director of Public Works Dave Peterson called the snow storm a "hurricane without the water."

"I've never seen anything like this," Peterson said Wednesday morning, adding that the leaves on the trees was what made the storm so bad, as those leaves collected snow weight, bringing many trees down.

Peterson said the city will hire contractors to help with the cleanup.

Public Works officials warned people to make sure that, when hiring contractors for cleanup work around their homes, those contractors are properly licensed and insured for the work they will be doing.

National Weather Service is predicting high winds for Friday and Saturday, which may cause more trees, branches and power lines to fall, a statement from the police department says. People are asked to call the police at 265-4361 and report downed power lines or trees in the street and to be careful when parking under trees.

Pepin Park and S Curve Park are closed to the public and will remain closed until further notice. For more information, people can call 265-5781.

In Rocky Boy, while St. Pierre and Oats roads are closed because of heavy drifting and snow pack, several main roads have been cleared for travel, KHEW 88.5 reports on their Facebook page. Laredo and Upper Road are open. From the intersection of those two roads to Stone College travel is also possible. And the road from Stone Child College to Box Elder is also open.

Duck Creek, Haystack, Parker Canyon and Parker School will remain closed because of heavy snow up to 4 to 5 feet packed to either side of the one lane.

All Rocky Boy homes have electricity and the reservation water system is in full operation.

Further east, the Red Cross is supporting a shelter that was opened Wednesday in Hays by the Fort Belknap Tribal Community at the Kills at Night Recreation Center on Main Street, an American Red Cross statement says.

The Red Cross also issued practical steps to take during a power outage. Keep refrigerator and freezer door closed as much as possible, eat perishable foods first, throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40 degrees for two or more hours, and turn off or disconnect appliances, especially stoves.

Other cautionary steps include connecting equipment to generators as opposed to connecting the generator to the electrical system.

Hypothermia signs, the Red Cross says, include shivering, numbness, glassy stare, weakness, impaired judgment and loss of consciousness. In case of hypothermia, call 9-1-1, move the person to a warm place, monitor breathing and circulation, perform rescue breathing or CPR if needed, and remove any wet clothing and warm the person with blankets.


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