Missoula, Ravalli County, I-90 under ‘essential driving only’ orders as arctic front arrives

The snow totals are adding up quickly, and many areas have received 2 inches to 4 inches of accumulation. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect across western Montana through Monday evening. (KPAX)

The Missoula Police Department issued an “essential driving only” alert Monday afternoon due to the hazardous road conditions from a strong snow band that moved through the area.

Numerous vehicle accidents and slide-offs have been reported for much of the afternoon in the city and across western Montana.

An alert was also issued for “emergency travel only” on Interstate 90 in both directions through Missoula County.

Additionally, the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert Monday afternoon requesting “essential driving only” in the Bitterroot.

NorthWestern Energy was reporting two power outages in Missoula along both Southwest Higgins and 7th Street. NWE crews are in the area and will restore power as soon as possible.

Latest outage reports here

The snow totals are adding up quickly, and many areas have received 2 inches to 4 inches of accumulation. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect across western Montana through Monday evening.

At noon Monday:

Drivers are dealing with slick roads across much of the area as the snow continues to fall.

The Montana Department of Transportation is reporting spinout accidents on US Highway 93 North in the Evaro Hill area.

Additionally, a one-vehicle accident is being reported on Interstate 90 near the Saltese exit in Mineral County.

Drivers have been dealing with snow building up on the passes with Lookout, Lolo and Lost Trail all seeing snow on the roads.

Slick driving conditions are also being reported on Bozeman Pass and in the Great Falls area.

MDT was reporting numerous slide-offs and accidents on I-90 between Bozeman and Belgrade as of 11:30 a.m.

MDT was also reporting a truck slide-off that’s blocking Montana Secondary 271 north of Drummond.

Snow was being reported on most of the major roads in Flathead and Lincoln counties — as well as in northern Lake County.

The National Weather Service reports a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the valleys of Western and Northwest Montana.

Preliminary snow reports as of mid-day on Monday show 2″ had fallen the Columbia Falls area while the Bigfork and Creston areas had seen over 1″ of snow.

Approximatley 1″ of snow was also being reported near Eureaka in Lincoln County.

StormTracker Meteorologist Russ Thomas there’s a good chance for slick roads during the day on Monday, with the possibility of roads freezing overnight.

The mountain passes are expected to receive several inches of snow with this system, meaning passes will be slick as you might expect.

The National Weather Service has also issued a Wind Chill Advisory beginning at 9 p.m. on Monday.

Arctic air is expected to spill over the Divide driving morning lows into the single digits Tuesday and Wednesday morning, according to Thomas.