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Old 01-24-2014, 08:26 AM
1 posts, read 1,643 times
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Hi all,

I'm a graduate student originally from New Jersey who will be coming to Malta for a few months as part of my clinical rotations for school. I will be flying into Billings, renting a car, and driving up to Malta in early February. Any tips or advice on weather/road conditions? What are the roads like, and is there anything special I need to know regarding car maintenance in such cold temperatures? Is there usually a lot of snow on the ground at any given time?

From what I've seen, the weather looks relatively mild right now (and pretty similar to winters at home), but of course it could change at any time, and I'm expecting some serious cold while I'm there.

If my questions seem ignorant, that's because I have no idea what to expect! I've never been to Montana before, and am not really familiar with the state's geography. I would really, really appreciate any tips!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:38 AM
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I have not lived in that area but I did work in a position for 3 years where I traveled all over Montana, based in Billings. The biggest obstacle I found during the winter was the wind going up that direction. When it snows it often snows "horizontally"! The wind can really blow across the roads, causing ground blizzards with poor visibility, very icy conditions, etc. There may not be a lot of snow, but what is there can really drift, too. I think our guesses would be as good as yours as far as what the trip would be like when you get to Billings. It could be clear as a bell or it could be a living hell! Be prepared with food, water, blankets, etc. in your rental car. If the weather seems bad when you get there you may want to get an SUV or good all wheel drive vehicle. 4 wheel drive isn't necessary unless you go off the road. The roads are good, meaning functionally, but the weather can make it not much fun. The further north you get the less traffic there will be, so that is the main reason for having supplies in your car. There were times that I didn't see another car for many, many miles, especially at night. I hate to diss any community, but I rather feel sorry for you for having to spend this time in Malta. There sure isn't much there, and it is a drive to go anywhere that has many more amenities. Just be prepared to spend your time concentrating on your assignment there, with little expectations of much to do outside of that. You will be fine! Best wishes to you in your future!!!
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:41 AM
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I forgot to mention that my parents were from New Jersey and I still have an aunt & cousins there. I have been there twice. It is a world apart from Montana! I was in culture shock being there, and I am pretty sure it might be worse for you coming here! My cousin and his wife came to Montana to a family reunion we had a couple of years ago (and that was in NW Montana, where there are lots of trees, lakes, etc.) and they had a hard time with it. Being out in the wide open spaces in Malta will prove to be very different for you Where in NJ are you from? If you are still there, be sure to tell everyone you see to cheer for the Broncos next Sunday!!!!
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:48 PM
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
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Malta is a very small town on the Hi-Line in northern MT. The weather up along that area can dramatically change from week to week. Prepare for days that might be very windy, sub-zero and potentially heavy snows. If fortunate this current weather pattern may hold out. Several years ago snow was drifted up over 6' high along the Hi-line.

It's very fickle weather up there. I was up along the Hi-Line right after Christmas duck hunting. It was 45 degrees in Havre, 40 degrees in Malta and −10 in Glasgow just further east along the Hi-Line. The days that we hunted were −10 and below. And windy.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:18 PM
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Some of those HiLine towns like Malta are more similar to Dakota towns than Montana towns. It is rather flat and can be desolate feeling especially in the winter. Malta does not have much for amenities.
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