Rattlesnake resident Steve Guerreri said despite being home, he didn’t hear two trees fall onto his roof during Friday night’s storm.
“It wasn’t really until I tried to get out the front door when I went uhh, huh,” he said.
Guerreri’s neighbors, Pelah Hoyt and Mark Olson, said it was around 9 p.m. when the first of Guerreri’s trees started to tip from the wind.
“It was insane, just a constant 30-plus miles per hour up here. It sounded like a freight train inside,” Olson said. “But the roots helped out, the tree just went over so slowly and smoothly.”
Guerreri said he didn't believe it when his neighbors called to alert him to the pair of downed trees leaning against the roof, but he felt lucky the damage wasn’t worse.
“They are basically just kissing the house,” he said.
While Friday’s storm didn’t drop as much snow in Missoula as the National Weather Service had initially predicted, the mix of rain, snow, wind and cold knocked down trees throughout the Rattlesnake, including those in the yard of Guerreri’s house just off Missoula Avenue.
Another crashed down blocking the street just up the block, bringing power lines with it.
In the University District, Kerry Zahn spent Saturday morning clearing the snow from the sidewalks around her house.
“We’re just trying to get it all done early but it’s hard. The snow is thick and heavy today,” she said.
Her daughters, 5-year-old Salimata Diaby and her sister 3-year-old Minna, were varying amounts of helpful. Minna seemed more interested in picking up large chunks of snow and tossing them back onto the already-cleared sections of sidewalk.
“Her sister has been a big help though,” Zahn said.
Once the sidewalks are clear, Zahn said the family might head to the South Hills or one of their other favorite areas for a big day of sledding to stay outside and enjoy the snow.
From Wednesday to Saturday, the Missoula area received more than nine inches of snow. The National Weather Service is predicting less than two additional inches for the Missoula area through the start of the new year, along with calmer winds in the forecast.
Roads around western Montana remain precarious, with snowy and icy conditions on all major interstates and highways and severe driving conditions in place near the intersection of Highway 200 and Highway 141, where an avalanche slid across the road Friday night.
The Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, southern Mission and southern Swan ranges remain under a backcountry avalanche warning through Sunday morning, with heavy snow on top of a weak snow structure leading to a high risk for slides.