Residents in parts of Park County should prepare for shelter in place due to blowing snow and blowing snow, officials said on Saturday evening.
A Park County “emergency snow alert” informed residents on Saturday that Swingley, West Boulder, Trail Creek, Divide and Mission Cr. The roads could not be kept open due to blowing snow. The alert said people on these roads should be careful and be prepared to stay in their homes until Monday.
“Other roads may also close,” the alert said. “The roads department will try to open all the roads on Monday morning.”
According to Dann Babcox, chief of Park Rural Fire District # 1, emergency personnel began responding to calls at 3 a.m. with zero visibility and vehicles slipping off the road on Interstate 90. Babcox did. reported no serious injuries or hospitalizations, but five semi-trucks and several cars were abandoned.
Babcox urged townspeople to use alternate streets, like Lewis, Clark or Geyser, and to avoid Park Street when crossing the railroad tracks.
“We are not making these requests or asking that roads be rerouted or closed for no good reason,” Babcox said. “There’s a reason for that. We were there, and we recognize there’s a big problem. Until the wind stops blowing, people are in danger.”
A FEMA alert on Saturday said it expected winds of up to 80 mph. Due to the strong winds, Babcox urged people to use the east and west streets. “Putting these detours in place saves lives – not just the public but first responders. “
As winter approaches, the Montana State Emergency Management Office recommends keeping a flashlight, blanket, basic first aid supplies, non-perishable food, and water in your vehicle as an emergency car kit.
Park County Emergency Services urged residents to take a shovel and emergency supplies when driving through blowing snow on Saturday. Park County has also told residents that delays in responding to 911 are possible, but that calls for help in an emergency should not be delayed.
Meanwhile, on Saturday night, traffic on Interstate 90 was at one point blocked for miles west of Livingston as traffic passed through town due to high winds.