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Snow shuts down schools, creates hazardous driving


December 20, 2017

Staff and wire report

A winter storm hitting northern Montana has forced school closures and caused scattered power outages and hazardous driving conditions, with traffic on Fort Belknap Indian Reservation restricted to emergency traffic only.

A winter storm warning remained in effect today for the northern half of the state, including Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and along the Hi-Line from Cut Bank on the Rocky Mountain Front to Bainville on the North Dakota border. The watch extends into northern North Dakota, as well.

Roads and highways in the area are slick and hazardous. Strong winds are also causing problems for travelers.

Harlem schools reported this morning they were closed due to the weather, and Chinook schools said they were considering closing early.

No other school closings or travel restrictions in the Havre region were reported this morning.

Montana Department of Transportation’s web site showed U.S. Highway 2 from Chinook to the Blaine-Phillips counties line and Montana Highway 241 from the Canadian border to Harlem and Montana Highway 66 from Fort Belknap Agency to the Blaine-Fergus counties line as in severe driving conditions.

In other parts of the state, an avalanche warning was posted for the mountains of west-central Montana, including the Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, southern Missions and southern Swan mountains near Seeley Lake.

When the snow clears out later today, bitter cold air will start to flow into the state.

Many areas will see highs in the teens by Friday with lows in the single digits.

In the Havre area, light snow is predicted later in the week with bitterly cold temperatures arriving over the weekend.

Tonight’s forecast is for a slight chance of snow then mostly clean, with increasing clouds Thursday and a chance of snow Thursday night and Friday and a slight chance of snow Friday night and Saturday.

Snow is not in the forecast for Saturday night or Sunday, but the predictions call for a slight chance of snow Christmas Day and Tuesday.

Temperatures are expected to drop below zero starting Friday night, with a forecast low of minus 1, with Saturday’s high predicted to hit 11, Saturday night to drop to 5 degrees, then a high of 16 Sunday with a low of minus 1.

The temperatures for Christmas are forecast at a high of 11 and a low of minus 5.


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