We sort of knew it was coming, right? We knew heavy, wet snow was on the way and most of our trees have not yet lost their leaves. That's a dangerous combination in Montana.

FIRST, LET ME SAY THIS: The folks at Northwestern Energy work EXTREMELY hard to restore power when we experience outages of any kind.

When Montana weather strikes, their crews are out in the elements 24/7 to get things fixed and keep folks warm and safe. Power outages can be scary, especially when the temperature drops and the weather is terrible. Bad roads don't keep them from doing their absolute best. Most of us know someone who works for NW Energy. If you're a newbie, thank them when you meet them. It's a tough yet CRUCIAL gig.

Northwestern Energy

There are a few basics we all can practice to minimize the impact of power outages when they occur. Living in Montana certainly requires a significant amount of 'preparation'...this place ain't no joke. Let's always treat it with respect.

When bad weather is coming, keep your cell phone and computer fully charged. Regardless of power outages, that fully charged cell phone might end up being your lifeline if you find yourself in a snowy ditch. There's no need to find yourself with little charge when we KNOW bad weather is coming. Charge it before you can't charge it.

Prepare your car BEFORE the weather hits. Not a problem that always meshes with a power outage, but you might find yourself on the road GOING to a place with power. It's a great time to make sure you've got that emergency kit stocked, wipers replaced, fluids checked and your tires properly inflated. All easy stuff.

If the weather is terrible, check the Northwestern Energy Outage Map. It's an incredibly helpful tool, provided you have power. :-) Many locations across the state suffered from power outages today, most of which occurred in the Bozeman area. Knowing what MIGHT happen is half the battle and will help you prepare your day.

18 Cool Things to See at the New SCHEELS Store in Missoula

The wait is over! Have you checked out the new store at Southgate Mall yet? Here's a collection of things that I found to be pretty cool while walking around SCHEELS.