wreaked car

Around 2 to 6 inches of snow had accumulated in parts of the Helena Valley by Wednesday morning, a little over a week after a September storm dropped about 3 inches of snow in the area. 

The storm also left a layer of ice on the streets around town, and the Helena Police Department had responded to 11 crashes by 10 a.m. 

"If they don't need to travel, we'd ask them to stay off the roadways until the plows can get the streets under control," said Sgt. Berkley Conrad of the HPD. 

Authorities are encouraging drivers to leave early, drive slowly, and carry a shovel, cellphone and proper clothing if they have to be on the roads.  

Temperatures in Helena are not expected to rise above freezing Wednesday, Conrad said, so "we're fighting an uphill battle."

Helena will remain under a winter storm warning until midnight tonight, and forecasters are expecting up to 1 more inch of snow to accumulate in the area today. 

However, the surrounding mountains are getting quite a bit more. 

Near MacDonald Pass, 11 inches of snow had accumulated by Wednesday morning. Forecasters say another 2 to 4 inches could fall in the area Wednesday. 

Another 3 to 6 inches could fall along Interstate 15 near Boulder and another 5-plus inches could fall in the Elkhorns on Wednesday, said Francis Kredensor of the National Weather Service in Great Falls. 

"Snow will continue off and on at least through the afternoon, and then things will definitely start to taper off this evening," he said. "And then by midnight, it looks like it will pretty much be done."

Across the state the early winter storm has caused numerous travel issues, including closure of Interstate 90 in Park County near Livingston at about 11 a.m.

Authorities are also cautioning about dangerous driving conditions on Boulder Hill and Homestake Pass. 

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