Massive amount of snow dumps on Bitterroot, continues to fall


HAMILTON, Mont. - Ravalli County got an especially high dosage of snow from this February storm. There are reports of at least 17 inches falling in the south valley, and that continues to rise.

Plows were out before 4 a.m. scraping Hamilton's Main Street Monday morning.

Robin Hood was cleaning up the Rainbow Bar so it could open at 9. Hood drove in well before dawn from his home in the Lost Horse area, between Hamilton and Darby.

"I had to push snow with my car," said Hood.

Winter fell hard in the Darby area.

Jerry Hinman lives about a mile and a half north of Darby. He spent a good part of the day plowing his driveway. At noon, he had measured 16-and-a-half inches of snow on his desk. And it keeps piling up.

"In '96 we had some heavy snow that was nearly this much," said Hinman," but probably less.

In Corvallis, Scottie Wildey was shoveling snow in a parking lot.

"Six to eight inches I've been shoveling," said Wildey, "need to remove it so we can get cars in and out of the coffee shop and car wash."

Coffee shop owner Cindy Stefka is grateful for his hard work. She was open for business, but it wasn't easy to get to work.

"I got my husband to haul me down this morning," said Stefka.

She said it required some shoveling.

February is calving season for many ranchers in the Bitterroot. They're working hard, and calves are being born in one of the most serious February snow storms anyone has seen in awhile.

But much-needed snowpack is accumulating.

The Forest Service said for the date, February 24, the Bitterroot Basin is at 140 percent. That much snow hasn't been part of the record since the mid-1990s.