Dust storm temporarily closes part of highway north of Great Falls

Dust storm temporarily closes part of highway north of Great Falls
Posted at 2:12 PM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 22:29:11-05

(UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.) U.S. Highway 87 has been reopened after winds slowed down. Officials continue to urge caution when traveling through the area.

(First report) A dust storm has temporarily closed U.S. Highway 87 between Great Falls and Fort Benton, from milepost 13 to 21. The road is also closed just south of Fort Benton from milepost 38.0 to 38.5.

An onlooker traveling from Fort Benton told MTN that someone redirected south-bound traffic onto Floweree Road on Sunday afternoon.

The National Weather Service reported zero visibility in the area near Great Falls at 1:43 p.m. on Sunday, and the Montana Department of Transportation and the Montana Highway Patrol have reported several crashes. At this point, none of the crashes have caused life-threatening injuries, to the best of our knowledge.

They have asked drivers to delay travel, or to find alternate routes and remain off the highway until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, or until the roads are declared safe.

Severe winds blasted the Treasure State on Sunday morning, with the highest gust recorded at 94 miles per hour at Deep Creek, between Townsend and White Sulphur Springs. Gusts in Great Falls hit about 55 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

We will update you if we learn more.