Icy roads plague Ravalli County


HAMILTON, Mont. - First it was knee high snow in the Bitterroot.

Then on Monday morning, temperatures became almost spring like.

Add to that rain.

It was a recipe for slow, treacherous travel.

Snowplows have 500 miles of roads to plow in Ravalli County.

That's a lot of snow and ice to scrape almost constantly.

Lisa Johnson took two tries to get out of her driveway.

It was nothing but ice.

Gene Butler had no trouble delivering Meals on Wheels to the clients on his route.

But years of driving Montana roads taught him winter roads aren't forgiving.

"No, they're not," said Butler,"You've gotta' handle with care. I have a 4-wheel drive pickup and I make sure that I'm in control at all times."

Bonnie Sue Upchurch was gathering supplies for the Bitterroot River Inn Hotel.

The hotel has had lots of business with basketball tournaments.

The hotel has had a healthy occupancy rate from other events too.

But bookings from the East Coast have been tentative because of bad weather there.

"Snow and ice storms in the Washington D.C. area," said Upchurch,"have caused flight cancellations, thus we've already had five cancellations."

In the Bitterroot, rain has crusted deep snow, and people are shoveling snow, slush and water.