Glacier National Park is closing roads and campgrounds in anticipation of a early fall snowstorm that’s expected to start in earnest Friday and run through the weekend.
The Many Glacier campground will close today (Thursday) and Two Medicine will close Friday. The St. Mary campground will stay open, but camping is not advised.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road from Jackson Glacier Overlook to Logan Pass has closed and the road on the west side was previously closed from Avalanche Creek to Logan Pass for road work.
More roads, particularly on the east side, could close as snow develops Friday night into Saturday, the Park is warning.
The National Weather Service is saying the higher terrain of Glacier will see from one to two feet of snow with blizzard-like conditions as winds will be 50 mph with gusts east of the divide up to 80 mph.
Winds in the Bad Rock Canyon should also be in the 50 mph-plus range.
The park will also see very cold temperatures for this time of year, with lows Monday and Tuesday morning in the teens in places like Polebridge. Columbia Falls will see lows in the 20s.
East of the Divide west of Highway 89 snowfall totals could reach two feet or more as well, said National Weather Service meteorologist Francis Kredensor in Great Falls.
“This could be one folks will tell their grandchildren about,” Kredensor said.
Snowfall totals west of the Divide in the valleys will be less, but Columbia Falls could see 4 inches or so and West Glacier more than that. Kalispell will even see 1 or 2 inches.
The cold is expected to last into week, though temperatures should moderate back to normal — 50s and 60s — by the second week of October, longer range models are suggesting.
Folks should be prepared for power outages as the leaves are still on the trees and with high winds, numerous trees could come down. People traveling should have an emergency kit in their car, typically with water, food, and a sleeping bag or two.