HAVRE – Major snowfall along the Hi-Line caused power outages, widespread tree damage and dangerous driving conditions on Tuesday.

A National Weather Service weather spotter had measured 15½ inches of snow in Havre as of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Approximately 7,000 people had no power at the height of the storm and NorthWestern Energy reported it could be several days of no power for some residents.

Story continues below

“NWE expresses appreciation to our customers for patience & appreciation shown during this challenging time–Crews will continue to work safely to repair/restore service to you,” the utility said on it Facebook page.

The weight of the snow on trees with foliage had caused tree branch damage throughout the city.

The main streets in Havre were plowed by the Montana Department of Transportation, but most of the side streets are covered in several inches of thick slush.

Most people are staying inside because conditions are dangerous with the high winds causing tree branches to constantly be falling.

“This is the situation all around Havre; widespread catastrophic tree branch damage. It has knocked out power. It is weighing on power lines. Actually, as we stand here and talk to you right now, I can hear branches starting to creek over here to our West here. This is the scene all around town,” weather spotter Josh Miller said.

On the Rocky Boy’s Reservation the Chippewa Cree Tribe declared a state of emergency.

“Basically everything’s at a standstill, we’re asking residents to stay in the house. Do not travel on the roads. All businesses are closed. Only emergency personnel are authorized to be on the roads,” said Dustin White, Chippewa Cree Water Resource Director.

With six to 10 feet deep snow drifts throughout the reservation, at temperatures expected to go up later this week, the Tribe is also concerned about flooding.