Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Harry Staley's business is waiting on an important order that has been delayed by the snowstorm that delivered a foot of snow over the weekend.

Staley, the owner of Staley's Tire and Automotive, Inc. is waiting on an order of tires for his customers. Even though he's been ordering seasonal tires from his suppliers for months, they still haven't delivered like he hoped they would.

“I'm running out of product,” Staley said, who had a full crew ready to help unload the semi truck Monday morning. Instead, the load is stuck in South Dakota, and they'll have to wait until Tuesday.

TJ Comstock, owner of Billings Hardware, knows how Staley feels. While he has been stocked up and ready to go since June, some items have surprisingly sold out more than once.

Comstock said snowblowers have sold out four times since he began selling them a month ago. That's about 50 snowblowers sold this year so far.

Over the weekend, he sold six pallets of sandbags, along with other winter essentials.

“Our business is the kind that thrives in extreme weather,” Comstock said.

He said customers will come in each year for winter essentials, as well as for items for repairs around the house, like broken pipes.

“They find out the weaknesses in their home, and we are here to help them fix it,” Comstock said.

Houses aren't the only things that need fixing after the first few days of the storm.

Billings Police Department Sgt. Kevin Iffland said the department has responded to 81 calls since the first snowfall Thursday.

The bulk of the crashes happened Friday, with 33 accidents reported.

The tow truck drivers at Hanser's Wrecker Service responded to a number of those calls, as well as calls in Hardin, Columbus, Big Timber and Livingston.

“We haven't had a storm like this for about 10 years,” said Therisa Siek, dispatch manager. “It was not like this last year, I guarantee it.”

Siek said Hanser's has responded to 80 different calls since Thursday, including slideoffs, rollovers, jackknives and other kinds of accidents.

Most were caused by the icy roadways that the City of Billings street division has been trying to clear.

Bill Kemp, superintendent, said he has about 11 vehicles out plowing, sanding and hauling snow 24 hours a day.

“This one is a little longer lasting, and with the cooler temperatures, the way the storm came in with the rain turned to ice and slush pretty suddenly within the first three hours,” Kemp said.

Kemp said the only way to get rid of that sheet of ice is for the weather to warm up.

In the meantime, all they can do is sand the streets. Kemp said in a 12-hour period, one sand truck driver could spread four or five loads of sand at 15 yards per load.

He said that means the city goes through between 250 and 275 yards of sand in just a half a day. The trucks get the sand from a stockpile on Midland Road.

That stockpile was used up over the weekend and additional sand had to be brought in from Knife River's inventory on Monday.

“We are putting sand on there, and that's about all we can do until we break it off the road,” Kemp said. “A 20-degree day with sun would be nice. That's the break we need. We can keep working, but the zero degrees is not helping.”

He said the crews will be out Monday night trying to finish a job they started Sunday night removing snow from downtown.

The city crews will get a break, of sorts. Carolyn Willis, observing program leader with the National Weather Service, said temperatures should warm closer to freezing during Thanksgiving.

That warmer weather will also be tied with 10 to 15 mile per hour winds and the chance of about 4 more inches of snow by Wednesday.

“We have so much snow and it's light and fluffy,” Willis said. “Thanksgiving day might be a little dicey travel-wise with the snow blowing ... we could have local white-out conditions.”

As for next week, Willis said temperatures are expected to be in the 20s.

“It will still be a little warmer than this week,” Willis said.

Contact Chelsea Krotzer at or 657-1392.

Contact Chelsea Krotzer at or 657-1392.