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Havre Weathers Early Season Snowstorm ‘Pretty Good’

Unlike other parts of Montana, Havre weathered the early season snowstorm without any major disruptions.

The total snowfall in Havre over the weekend was 12.5 inches, according to the most recent measurement from the National Weather Service.

But the relatively warm weekend temperatures kept most trees intact, off power lines, and residents with power, Havre Public Works Director Dave Peterson said Monday morning.

“Everything seemed to be, you know, pretty good,” Peterson said, adding that it was “nothing like we had a few years ago,” referring to the storm in early October 2017 that leveled trees and left north-central Montana residents without power for days.

According to Havre City-County Airport numbers, the temperature stayed above 30 degrees the entire weekend, preventing the snow from freezing onto branches and toppling them.

Aside from a few broken branches, Havre was “pretty good,” Peterson said.

But the city was prepared for worse, he added. If it had to mitigate the effects of a repeat of 2017, trucks and equipment were fueled and crews were ready to go.

In the Bear Paw Mountains, where snowfall was anticipated to be higher, the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation didn’t see too many problems either.

A representative of the tribal police department said Monday morning the snow melted off roads pretty quickly and prevented any major disruptions. No roads or schools were closed Monday.

North-central Montana received between 8 and 12 inches of snow Saturday and Sunday, depending on the area. The NWS reported the Bear Paw Mountains, east of Lloyd, had about14 inches of snow. A measurement from Hogeland in Blaine County, closer to the Canadian border, came in at 8 inches.

Aside from a few sporadic outages in Chester, Gildford and Chinook, power outages were not a problem in north-central Montana.

Before the storm, NorthWestern Energy sent out a press release advising it was “adjusting staffing” to prepare for power outages.

“NorthWestern was well prepared,” Greely said, as outages were not as widespread as anticipated.

But other parts of Montana were not as fortunate as Havre, and on Sunday Gov. Steve Bullock declared an emergency.

“The storm brought heavy, wet snow with accumulation amounts up to three feet in some locations. High winds have downed trees and power lines resulting in road closures, emergency travel conditions, intermittent cellular service and power outages,” a press release from the governor’s office said. “Unseasonably cold temperatures will delay snowmelt in some areas and bring the end of the growing season for some agricultural producers. The storm also has the potential to cause flooding in Montana.”

Areas hit hardest included Cascade, Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Pondera and Teton counties and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The latter was the “big winner,” Greely said, as Browning received four feet of snow.

The snow caused several school closures on Monday:

  • Conrad
  • Browning
  • Blackfeet Community College
  • Cut Bank
  • Shelby
  • Dutton
  • Choteau
  • Fairfield
  • Valier

Havre Public Schools continued as usual.

Great Falls set snow records over the weekend.

Greely of the NWS said 19.3 inches of snow fell in Great Falls on Saturday and Sunday, a record two-day snow total for September.

Email Paul Dragu at editor@havreherald.com

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