Snow snarls Missoula traffic for third day

Joshua Murdock

A unusually forceful start to winter weather disrupted traffic for a third day Wednesday, as rapid snowfall in the morning turned city streets and highways into a slick, white mess. 

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, calling for 2–5 inches of snow in Missoula and 5–8 inches in the Bitterroot Valley. The warning was in effect until 8 p.m. Wednesday and said that “travel could be very difficult.” A day prior, around noon Tuesday, the agency said there was a 97% chance of 2 inches or more of snow in Missoula from Tuesday night into Wednesday, and a 100% chance of at least 2 inches in Hamilton. There was a 66% chance of Missoula receiving 4 inches or more, and a 99% chance of Hamilton receiving 4 inches or more. 

Snow blankets the University of Montana in early November.

The snowfall in the area was well above normal for early November, but in line with an array of projections this fall that foresee an unusually snowy winter. A weather station at 7,400 feet on Stuart Mountain, north of and much higher than Missoula,

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