Weather Wise: Traveling in whiteout conditions

BROWNING – Blizzard conditions have blasted areas east of Glacier National Park and the Rocky Mountain front for weeks now.

Meteorologist Curtis Grevenitz traveled to the region last weekend and found a window of decent weather before whiteout conditions blew back in.

Saturday afternoon, north of Browning along Duck Lake Road, the road remains closed, but some area roads have opened up. I spoke to a few people stuck in Cut Bank because the roads were closed, but now they’re able to get home.

This is a little window where the wind has calmed down, and some of the people that live up here are calling it a beautiful day, because the sun is out and the wind isn’t that bad.

It’s been weeks of wind, snow and ground blizzards. A break in the wind surely was welcomed by people and animals alike.

At times, people have had to hunker down for days, so when the weather clears, the ability to socialize and get out is much appreciated.

East Glacier resident Bob Folsom said “It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to town.”

Bubbles Little Badger echoed his thoughts, saying “I’m glad to be out and able to talk to you.”

East Glacier has received 234 inches, or 20 feet of snow so far this winter. But relentless wind, hurricane force at times, have punished the area for nearly the last month, affecting everyone and every thing.

The railroads have required heavy construction equipment to keep the tracks clear. Ranches and livestock have suffered loss, some of which can’t be quantified yet, because of inaccessibility.

Keeping the roads open has been extremely difficult, but even when they’re open, conditions are life threatening.

Folsom said “If you’re driving, you can’t see. It’s a scary thing. Ground blizzards it can be clear above you but on the ground you can’t see the front of your hood.”

Here on Sunday afternoon, Highway 89 remains closed, Highway 2 remains open. Whiteout conditions have returned. At times, I couldn’t see the front of my vehicle, and you’re worried about someone coming up behind you.

The winds have picked up to over 50mph, and there’s ground blizzard conditions, even though the sun is out and I can see blue sky. The locals up here say that if the wind doesn’t blow for a few days, it’s weird. Well, I’m thinking the people up here want it to get a little weird.