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Weather Wise: Weather keeping seasonal roads closed

Weather Wise: Weather keeping seasonal roads closed
Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 19:48:18-04

HELENA — Two of Montana's most iconic roads, the Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park and the Beartooth Highway into Wyoming remain closed because of severe weather, namely snow.

Going-to-the-Sun Road across Glacier National Park still has a lot of snow on the road, some from a severe winter with heavy snow and cold temperatures that lasted well into spring.

Two storms in June produced feet of snow, pushing plowing efforts back. Most recently, avalanches from a recent storm have moved more snow across the road. Because of the danger, plowing efforts have been limited and hikers and bikers have not been allowed on the road.

This is historic as only one time in the road's 89-year history has the road not been open by Independence Day because of snow. The last time that happened was back in 2001. The road opened on July 13 that year because of snow on the pass. The road typically is open from late June into October.

The Beartooth Highway typically opens for Memorial Day Weekend, and it did this year, for a matter of hours. A storm over that holiday weekend dropped as much as 3 to 5 feet of snow closing down the road.

That heavy snow would become the loaded gun for historic flooding weeks later. A 500-year flood devastated parts of Yellowstone National Park and areas along the Yellowstone River. Rock Creek flowing out of the Beartooth Mountains inundated the town of Red Lodge and wiped out sections of the Beartooth Highway heading up the pass.

Severe weather in the form of snow has had a lasting impact now into summer here in Montana.