Livingston emergency workers, residents prepared for blizzard conditions


Livingston emergency workers, residents prepared for blizzard conditions 02-10-2014

LIVINGSTON, Mont. - Forecasters predicted blizzard conditions for the Livingston I-90 corridor late Monday night into Tuesday.

Livingston is no stranger to strong winds and blowing snow.

Emergency officials and residents in park county know blizzards can create dangerous conditions, particularly on Interstate 90.

Ace Hardware manager Jodi Eva tells NBC Montana she has seen a lot a blizzards, and that when forecasters predict whiteout conditions people should be prepared.

"If anyone is thinking they would need something," Eva says, "now would be the time to come get it."

She talked about supplies like ice melt, shovels, even heaters -- anything to combat wind and snow.

"The winds are not severe right now," says Park County Undersheriff Scott Hamilton.

He followed conditions closely Monday.

"We'll have our deputies out, rural fire units out. I'm sure the state will have their folks out to assess the situation, to see what it's like," Hamilton says.

One of the things they pay close attention to is visibility on the highway, as blizzard conditions can reduce visibility to less than a quarter-mile. That's when officials consider closing the highway or diverting traffic by using cross bars.

Hamilton explained the decision to close or reroute the highway is made in conjunction with the Montana Department of Rransportation. "If we do have to temporarily shut down a particular section of the highway we can reroute traffic through Livingston."

He remains confident that conditions may not be as bad a predicted.

"The sun is shining, the temperatures have come up quite a bit, so all that powdery snow is now settling and becoming more dense," Hamilton tells us. "So I don't think we're going to have as big of an issue as they had originally thought."

Regardless, Hamilton says anyone who does have to go out should be prepared. "Extra things in their car, blankets and water and food, supplies like that in case they were to get stuck," he told us, "and then call people, let them know 'We're on the way.'"

Advice that Eva does not need to be told twice. She says "We're pretty much ready for any kind of weather Montana throws at us at any time."

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