Weather brings record breaking lows and accidents

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A truck accident near Lozeau stopped eastbound traffic on I-90 on Tuesday, Feb. 20, backing up traffic to the Superior airport. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent)

Last Tuesday a record-breaking cold wave hit the region sending temperatures into the negative degree range in some areas.

Mineral County managed to stay above zero with a daytime high of 16 and a low of one degree. However, Kalispell broke a record for Feb. 20 bottoming out at minus 16 degrees recorded at Glacier Park International Airport. The previous record for the date was minus 13 set in 1936, according to the Daily Inter Lake.

Hungry Horse also set a record of minus 12, with a previous record of minus 7 set in 1957. The coldest spot in the state was Polebridge, located near the northwest corner of Glacier National Park, with an astonishing minus 41. Some other cold spots included Olney, which is located north of Whitefish, with reports of minus 27 and Seeley Lake at minus 31.

The frigid temperatures along with snow also caused multiple car accidents along Interstate 90. At about 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 20, the Superior Volunteer Fire Department responded to a report of a semi-truck on its side blocking both eastbound lanes near Lozeau.

No serious injuries were reported, according to Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone. However, both lanes remained closed for almost two hours. Cars were rerouted on Mullan Road East, but trucks had to wait until the road was cleared because Mullan is too narrow for them.

Boone said trucks were backed up from Lozeau all the way to the Superior Airport located several miles away. Eventually, they were able to get one lane open and traffic resumed. However, another accident involving a semi and a snowplow occurred near mile marker 7 around 1:30 p.m., which also caused a delay in traffic. Between Monday and Tuesday last week, 22 accidents were reported on I-90.

Temperatures have started to warm up with highs expected to be in the upper 30s later this week.

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