BILLINGS — What was once a relatively mild February Sunday afternoon in Billings quickly turned for the worse around 3 p.m., when snow started falling across the region and quickly stacked up just hours later.
The snow is likely to stick around through Monday. That means travel conditions in the morning across the lower half of the state will likely be treacherous for the morning commute, so take a moment to slow down and be safe.
Billings Police implemented the slick streets policy shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, meaning they won't respond to minor fender bender crashes and instead ask people to exchange insurance information.
Tow truck drivers in Billings spent the slow Sunday afternoon resting with their go-bags packed, preparing for the inevitable: hundreds of calls from motorists and commercial drivers who've gone off the road.
"Our dispatch behind me becomes a real hotbed for information passing. It's busy. We've come in and the girls just start giggling because sometimes it's overwhelming, said Spence Hanser, operations manager for Hanser's Automotive in Billings.
Hanser said this winter overall has been about on par with others as far as their total number of calls. But the ever-growing amount of traffic between Billings and Bozeman on Interstate 90 always keeps them busy, especially during a winter storm.
"The traffic that we've got between Billings and Bozeman is heavy, heavy, heavy and never slows down. People, make sure you've got your heavy clothes with you, extra food with you, water, candles, blankets. It's only 150 miles, and yah it's 40 miles to Columbus and 40 miles to Big Timber, but if you're in one of those little spots where there is nobody, you want to be safe. And if you're going into eastern Montana, well most of those people know to prepare, but it gets ugly fast," Hanser said.
In Montana, snow means skiing. Red Lodge Mountain has seen snow stack up over the past week and the mountain should be adding a few more inches overnight, just make sure to drive safe on your way to the hill.