The Big Snow Cometh: Schools Closed, 30 inches at Lost Trail

By PAUL QUENEAU

Missoula awoke this morning a foot of snow and flakes are still falling.

A group of bucks graze under snowy Missoula skies.

Missoula County Public School first delayed schools two hours, then chose to close them for the day “due to feedback this morning from our bus transportation company, local police, and road crews regarding snowfall and morning road conditions.”

The National Weather Service is warning of worsening road conditions if snow changes to freezing rain. Here’s hoping it doesn’t.

Here are some of the snow totals so far:

Measuring Missoula's snow in feet, not inches!

Snowbowl: 12 inches summit/8 inches base overnight, 16 inches at the summit in past 72 hours.

Lost Trail-Powder Mountain: 30 inches overnight!

Lookout Pass: 8 inches overnight, 12 inches past 24 hours

Lolo Pass: 33 inches in the past 48 hours

Discovery Basin: 6 inches overnight, 9 inches past 24 hours, 12 inches past 48 hours

Stuart Mountain snotel site: (in Rattlesnake Wilderness, elevation 7,400 ft.): 20 inches since Sunday

Missoula: 10-16 inches (depending on the area)

East Missoula: 13 inches

Clinton: 15.2 inches

Condon: 16 inches

Florence (4 miles east of town): 18 inches

Numbers courtesy of NOAA. For more snow news, the Make it Missoula ski report page also has the latest numbers from ski areas around Western Montana.

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Get more of Montana’s great outdoors with some of Paul’s other posts, The 20 Best Montana Outdoors Photos of 2011 and How to Lose a Staring Contest with an Elk, or visit his blog archive.

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Paul Queneau is an avid outdoor recreationist, naturalist, and hunter. He works as conservation editor of Bugle Magazine at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, where he writes about, photographs, edits, and films wildlife. See and read more of his work on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s website and Paul’s photoportfolio.