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Spring brings rapidly changing driving conditions to southwest Montana

Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-30 18:09:08-04

BOZEMAN – Springtime in Montana can bring heavy rain, snow, sleet, fog, hail, and thunderstorms, sometimes over the course of a few hours — which means drivers have to be prepared for anything this time of year.

“Pull up the road report and weather forecast for the area. Look at what the temperature is going to be; the temperature is a key indicator,” said Sgt. Patrick McCarthy with Montana Highway Patrol. “If the temperature is going to be in the low 30s, you know the there will be a few spots that might be icy, bridge decks, passes, higher elevations.”

As an example, Bozeman Pass looked mostly dry just before noon on Thursday, compared with a very snowy and slushy Homestake Pass. Roads can turn from dry to icy in a matter of miles. You have to know how to react.

“If you’re coming up on a bridge deck, a pass or an elevation change, look further down the road. Don’t look right in front of you. Look a half a mile down the road; the road up there changes color, light to dark or dark to light and it’s now snowing, raining, or getting warmer or colder. There’s probably changing road conditions there. Slow down ahead of time. Don’t wait until you’re there until you hit the brakes.” McCarthy said.

Whether you like it or not, the weather in southwest Montana is going to change.

Reported by-Carson Vickroy