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Wintery weather brings dangerous road conditions across western Montana

missoula winter driving
mdt.mt.gov
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MDT road camera
Beartracks bridge in Missoula Monday afternoon after a day of snow

A combination of intense snowfall, gusty wind and rapidly plunging temperatures led to dangerous driving conditions throughout western Montana Monday.

The Missoula Police Department early Monday afternoon issued a rare ‘emergency travel only’ declaration within the city limits due to extremely slick road conditions. Several accidents were reported throughout the city as street crews raced to get intersections sanded.

After three hours, the travel alert was lifted shortly after 4 p.m. Drivers are asked to slow down and drive carefully.

The Montana Transportation Department’s statewide road conditions map shows snow-covered and icy roadways throughout western and north central Montana.

The National Weather Service warns a second surge of bitterly cold air is going to push into western Montana overnight. Meteorologists say that could push wind chills well below zero in some places and create another round of extremely difficult driving conditions Tuesday morning.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.