Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in preparation for severe winter storm, mobilizes National Guard

January 31, 2011
Governor urges Missourians to prepare for possibly treacherous conditions, watch for downed power lines and avoid unnecessary travel
Jefferson City, MO

Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri and activated the Missouri National Guard in preparation for a severe winter storm that is moving into the region. The Governor and state emergency officials began monitoring the storm over the weekend, when the Governor ordered that emergency generators be deployed to staging locations across the state.

Earlier this afternoon, Gov. Nixon signed Executive Order 11-03 to declare a state of emergency in Missouri. The executive order activates the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with their emergency preparation and response. The Governor also signed Executive Order 11-04, which activates the Missouri National Guard in response to the storm. Under the Governor's orders, Citizen-Soldiers from the Guard will be deployed to support local emergency agencies.

"Most of Missouri is expected to be affected by this severe winter storm, which is predicted to cause treacherous road conditions and possibly widespread power outages," Gov. Nixon said. "My chief concern is the safety of Missourians, and these orders make state agency resources and the Citizen-Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard available to help communities respond. As state emergency officials continued to track the storm over the weekend, we worked closely with local agencies and faith and community groups to ensure that Missouri is as prepared as possible."

Before signing these orders, Gov. Nixon received an updated briefing from his emergency management team, including senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency to assess the current weather situation and review the latest forecasts.

Under Gov. Nixon's orders, the State Emergency Operations Center is now operating 24 hours a day. Liaison officers from the National Guard will begin working with county and local officials to determine where the Guard's help is needed.

National Weather Service forecasts call for significant ice in some areas, widespread heavy snowfall of a foot or more, and sustained winds. These extreme conditions create a strong possibility of power outages. The Governor also cautions Missourians who see downed power lines to report them immediately to their electric utility; to stay away from the downed lines; and to warn others to do so as well.

The forecast also calls for temperatures to drop into the single digits or below in parts of Missouri later in the week. Gov. Nixon encourages Missourians to take steps to protect themselves and their families, including:

  • Listen to radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information, or visit the state's Web site - MO.gov - for comprehensive emergency information.
  • If you must drive, check MO.gov for road conditions before departing. Dial the Missouri State Highway Patrol's emergency line - *55 from a cellular phone - if you encounter an accident while driving.
  • Check on the elderly and neighbors who may be in need of additional assistance. For information about emergency services and resources, visit MO.gov.

Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information, and referrals are urged to call 211. The 211 service is now available for most areas of Missouri. In areas where the 211 service is not operational, citizens may call 800-427-4626.

In addition to the National Guard, state agencies that can be activated for duty under the order include: Missouri Department of Public Safety, State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Division of Fire Safety, Department of Agriculture, Department of Conservation, Department of Corrections, Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Social Services, Department of Transportation and the Office of Administration.

Non-government and volunteer working with the State Emergency Operations Center include the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, AmeriCorps, and the Governor's Faith-Based and Community Service Partnership for Disaster Recovery.