(UPDATE) The state of emergency was vacated at 9 a.m. on Saturday, December 24, 2022. Although the emergency declaration has been rescinded, severe weather - including a ground blizzard warning - continues, and people are advised to stay indoors if possible and limit travel.
(1st REPORT, DECEMBER 23) The Blackfeet Nation has declared a state of emergency due to severe weather. The declaration was made on Friday evening (December 23,2022) due to wintry conditions and a ground blizzard warning.
The blizzard warning applies to Glacier County and western Pondera County and will remain in effect until noon on Sunday. Ground blizzard conditions are likely, with winds gusting as high as 55 to 70 miles per hour. Up to 7” of new snow accumulation is also possible along the Rocky Mountain Front.
The National Weather Service says a ground blizzard is defined as having sustained winds or frequent gusts of at least 35 miles per hour, visibility frequently below 1/4 mile in considerable snow and/or blowing snow, and the conditions are expected to prevail for 3 hours or longer.
Non-emergency driving in the area is prohibited at this time; there have been numerous slide-offs and abandoned vehicles.
A shelter has been set up at Browning Middle School for anyone who has been stranded or requires assistance.
US Highways 2 and 89 have been closed by the Montana Department of Transportation until further notice.
From the National Weather Service in Great Falls:
A Blizzard Warning has been issued for the Rocky Mountain Front and adjacent plains between Saturday morning and lasting through noon Sunday. Strong, gusty winds in excess of 55 mph will lead to blowing snow and ground blizzard conditions. Exercise caution during this time period, preparing for significantly reduced visibility, and ensure you have an emergency kit in your car if you must commute.
Blackfeet Incident Command Dispatch is open: 406-338-2946.
Follow the Blackfeet Nation/Blackfeet Tribal Business Council on Facebook for updates.