Bitterroot National Forest officials are taking the National Weather Office wind warning seriously.

Widespread wind warnings have been issued for Idaho and western Montana, with sustained wind speeds of over 60 miles per hour, according to the Missoula NWS office. Most of the wind is expected between 5 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said that the forecast warns of possible whiteouts and maybe up to two feet of snow in the mountains of the south valley.

McKay had advice for those heading out to the woods this weekend:

  • Use extreme caution on Forest Service roads, especially with deep snow.
  • Forest road surfaces have been melting during the day, causing ice sheets at night.
  • Keep your gas tank full, so you can keep warm if stuck for a length of time.
  • Be prepared for avalanche dangers with the extreme temperature swings and high wind.
  • Have an emergency kit that includes first aid, flares, candles, flashlights, kitty litter or sand for traction, jumper cables, water, extra food, extra clothing, blankets or sleeping bags, maps, a shovel.
  • And, remember to tell someone where you're going and when you are expected to be back. It can make a big difference in any search.