Weather

Dec 17, 2012 10:24 AM by Dennis Bragg

Winter conditions slam Western Montana passes

MISSOULA- A very strong Pacific storm system pushing across the Northern Rockies, and is already making driving difficult on the passes in Western Montana.

The Montana Department of Transportation reported heavy snow began falling on Lookout Pass around midnight with chains required on westbound towing units because of the winter driving conditions.

Snow continues east through the St. Regis Canyon with snow-covered roads on I-90 to Missoula. More snow is reported from Missoula east to Butte, with blowing and drifting snow creating reduced visibility around Drummond.

Further east, drivers on Interstate 90 are also having to deal with blowing and drifting snow on Bozeman Pass through Livingston.

U.S. Highway 93 South also has snow-covered roads from Lost Trail Pass north to Conner; then there are areas of snow north to Stevensville, with more snow falling on the road north to Missoula.

Additional snow covers the U.S. Highway 93 North from the Wye to Arlee, with slush and areas of snow and ice in the Mission Valley.

U.S. Highway 12 over Lolo Pass is also receiving snow this morning, with snow-covered roads east to Lolo.

Most roads in the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys have some snow cover this morning.

So far the snow hasn't had as much of an impact in Northwest Montana, although conditions are brutal on Marias Pass, and chains are now required on towing units. MDT is reporting heavy snow, with high winds creating blowing and drifting conditions on the road with poor visibility all the way to Browning.

Winds were expected to gust up to 50 mph over the Divide Monday as the front passes through.

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