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Drivers battle road conditions after heavy snowfall

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Dec 07 2012 11:11:07 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 07 2012 11:36:12 PM MST
Drivers battle road conditions after heavy snowfall
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A heavy snowfall blasted drivers in Missoula Friday evening. NBC Montana contacted the Montana Highway Patrol about an hour before our News at Ten and dispatch told us they had already responded to 26 car wrecks. 

Our team has been watching road conditions deteriorate.  An eastbound section of Interstate 90 shut down west of Missoula and accidents piled up as snow plows tried to get ahead of the problem.  We also received reports of power outages.

NBC Montana was out and about tonight and saw people were slowing down and visibly trying to drive more safely.  We saw a few people sliding when they were trying to stop at red lights; it’s a good reminder to give yourself plenty of space to brake.

We ran into one couple at a gas station swapping out their windshield wipers for a better pair.  They say it's funny how quickly drivers have to adjust to changing weather conditions.

“Just drive really carefully,” says Missoula resident Courtney Lanser.  “Not a lot of people slow down even thought it started snowing because they think they’ll be okay, but like today it just started pouring down out of nowhere!”

Lanser said she has all-terrain tires on her car and she says they do a pretty good job, but she says you still never know when you’re going to start sliding.  “I’ve been out for 20 minutes and I’ve already slid a few times,” she said.    

Our First Alert team will continue to track weather conditions throughout the weekend and bring you updates.  For weather alerts check out our Road Report and detailed weather forecasts here at NBCMontana.com.