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Icy Road Drifting Snow Black Ice

Monday's storm spelled trouble for a number of drivers near Missoula, but the National Weather Service is expecting much more severe conditions for northwest Montana in the days ahead.

The West Glacier region is under a winter weather warning from 2 a.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Wednesday, with heavy snow dropping 13 to 22 inches, according to NWS. Expected travel conditions are listed as "difficult to impossible" for the area, and wind chills could reach approximately 15 degrees below zero.

The Kootenai and Cabinet Mountain regions may also see a hefty blanket by Tuesday night, with 11 to 19 inches of snow expected before the end of the storm on Wednesday.

The Flathead and Mission Valleys will be under a storm warning from 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, which is expected to drop four to eight inches north of Flathead Lake, NWS reported. The same conditions are expected for the Seeley Lake and Potomac regions.

Temperatures are forecast to rise into the low 30s Tuesday and Wednesday, with two-to-five inches of snow expected in the coming days for both Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley, according to NWS.

Continued snowfall and frigid temperatures contributed to a string of crashes along the I-90 corridor near Missoula Monday morning, according to Montana Highway Patrol.

Three vehicles crashed within 13 minutes — the first reported at 8:40 a.m., the third at 8:53 — on the interstate's eastbound lane just outside East Missoula. At least one person was injured in the trio of crashes in a rollover, although MHP Capt. Kim Kitchin could not elaborate on the person's injuries.

"If people would slow down and take their time getting to where they're going, that's most of the crashes we have right now," he said. 

Heading into town, traffic diverted to Highway 200 due to the rollover had been backed up from Missoula nearly to east Missoula.

Another three vehicles suffered crashes on Highway 93 between Missoula and Lolo, according to MHP.

Monday afternoon, the Montana Department of Transportation reported one crash after another: a crash blocking the westbound lane near Bonner at 1:09 p.m.; a jack-knifed semi-truck near St. Regis at 1:07 p.m.; a car rolled over blocking westbound traffic near Alberton at 12:03 p.m.

"With the wind and ice on the roads, it's not advisable to go even close to the speed limit," Kitchin said. 

The Montana Department of Transportation on Monday reported scattered snow and ice on the roads throughout western Montana. Much of northwestern Montana reported snow covered roads.

Snow and ice also closed Monida Pass on Interstate 15 south of Dillon at the Montana/Idaho border Monday morning. I-15 was also closed from the Lima to Dillon, according to state transportation officials.

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