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  Comments (20) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
Temperatures Plunge to Record Lows Across Montana
Kalispell hit 21 below, breaking the previous record of minus 18 set in 1975
Students walk across campus at Flathead Valley Community College as temperatures plummet across the Flathead Valley on Thursday, Feb. 6. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Record-breaking subzero temperatures have gripped the state this week, causing schools to close temporarily and residents to bundle up or hibernate until warmer weather arrives this weekend.

The National Weather Service reported the state's low temperature Thursday morning was 50 below at Elk Park north of Butte. Wind chills dipped as low as minus 56 in Livingston.

Several record cold temperatures of at least 30 below were reported across the state, including in Bozeman, Dillon, Fort Benton, Great Falls, Lewistown and West Yellowstone. It fell to 34 below in Great Falls, shattering the old mark of 28 below set 121 years ago in 1893. West Yellowstone's minus 47 tied a 100-year-old record.

Kalispell hit 21 below, breaking the previous record of minus 18 set in 1975. Missoula was 23 below, breaking the 1899 record of minus 17. Butte plunged to negative 36, five degrees colder than the 1933 record for Feb. 6.

Whitefish Mountain Resort closed Chair One for most of Tuesday but kept other chairlifts running while officials monitored the frigid temperatures. Spokesperson Riley Polumbus said the resort’s cutoff mark is 20 below, which is when skiers could suffer frostbite just from riding the chairlifts.

“We want to keep everyone safe,” she said. “We don’t want to get in a situation where we have a mechanical issue when we have people on the chairlifts.”

Several Montana school districts cancelled classes or delayed the start of the school day due to the cold, power outages or boiler issues.

Bigfork School District closed all of its sites Wednesday as a precaution after a winter storm warning was issued, but school was back in session Thursday.

Montana State University Billings canceled classes for Thursday over issues with heating the campus.

The university is on an interruptible natural gas contract. A natural gas shortage caused by the recent nationwide cold snap led MSU Billings to switch to its propane backup system.

Facilities services director Jason McGimpsy told The Billings Gazette that the backup system was "kicking out on us throughout the day" Wednesday, leading university officials to close school offices and classes on Thursday.

If the backup system went out, the entire campus would be without heat, McGimpsy said.

"The whole country's 20 below today, or something like that," he said. "All the gas in the system, everything across the country combined is just using it all up."

Warmer weather was expected to return to the state by the weekend, according to the NWS.

Click here to view the current temperatures across the region.
Flathead Valley Temperatures on Thursday Morning
Source: Montana Department of Transportation
Kalispell -20
Marion -32
Columbia Falls -28
Essex -18
Ferndale -15
Swan Lake -40
Polson -10
Rollins -11
Hot Springs -21
Noxon -12
Whitefish -17
Stryker -28
Eureka -25
Libby -24
Troy -15
On 02-12-14, Gators commented....
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Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown21h
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Dillon Tabish
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Molly Priddy19h
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Tristan Scott19 Apr
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