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Spring snowstorm creates hazardous conditions across southern Montana
By Phil Van Pelt,
As the weekend got underway, so did a winter storm warning.
They old saying goes; March comes in like lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, as usual, Montana didn’t get the memo this year because even though its springtime, it looks like old man winter isn’t done having fun quite yet.
"The snow started about nine or ten last night and didn’t let up. When everybody woke up, it was at least thigh deep if not waist deep," said Red Lodge resident, Bryan Goligoski on Saturday.
"Most of the town is closed down. They all announced that on social media," added Goligoski.
And as the snow keeps coming, he says travel is far from recommended.
"They’re all saying that people can’t get in here. They can’t get up here and they don’t want them to try to get up here. So, I mean, it's hairy," said Goligoski.
Not only is travel a challenge but much of the region experienced power outages early Saturday morning as well, according to Carbon County Sheriff, Josh McQuillan.
"Here in Joliet, we’re still without power but it sounds like throughout the county some of those spots are starting to come back on," said McQuillan on Saturday.
He mentioned that crews worked around the clock to restore power but that some residents in towns like Joliet, Roberts, and Edgar were potentially without electricity for 12 hours or more.
In Billings, there were various events happening Saturday and many people were in town visiting, despite the harsh conditions.
Mark Schwantes and his family drove to Billings from Great Falls on Saturday for his niece’s dance recital and said the closer he got to Billings, the worse the weather became.
"The roads were icy, so, we definitely had to slow down. I think we were down to about 45 most of the time, just because it did get slick and there was ice on the roads," said Schwantes Saturday.
But McQuillan added that these storms are a springtime tradition in Montana.
"These types of storms, they’re really expected this time of year. It can be nice one day and then snowy like this the next," added McQuillan.
Even so, Goligoski said the "sheer amount of snow" in places like Red Lodge is surreal and if it continues, there could be a "bigger problem" ahead.
"If this keeps up then there will be some problems out here. If the worst is over than no big deal because they can plow this up and get it out of here. These are all really hardy people, so, it’s no disaster per se at the moment but it definitely has the feel of something going on. And if we get another night of that it's going to be super interesting to find out what happens because this town is going to be locked down," said Goligoski.
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