Officials call for essential travel only

UPDATE: The following has been posted by Sheriff Leo Dutton on social media:
“In cooperation with the Montana Dept. of Transportation, I am issuing a notice of severe driving conditions and recommend essential travel only. Driving conditions are forecast to worsen toward evening in L & C Co. and surrounding jurisdictions.”

A winter storm warning is in effect through tomorrow for all of western Montana with storm measurements in feet expected.

The National Weather Service predicts storm totals could hit a foot and a half or more with snow falling at a rate of up to two inches per hour at times. Forecasters also warn that freezing rain could mix in with snow in the Bitterroot Valley today before changing completely over to snow.

If you must travel by car, expect poor visibility at times and bad road conditions throughout the western part of the state. The snow is expected to taper off tomorrow night with chilly temperatures in the forecast through at least the middle of next week.