At Gov. Jay Nixon’s direction, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to operate 24-hour operations in response to an ongoing winter storm that continues to bring snow, sleet, freezing rain, high winds and dangerously low temperatures to much of Missouri and that has the potential to create significant power outages.
“Our emergency management team remains in very close contact with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), National Weather Service, utilities, local response agencies, and faith-based and volunteer partners,” Gov. Nixon said. “As forecast, this is a multi-phase storm system that has brought different types of precipitation and breaks in precipitation, but is expected to continue to create hazardous conditions into Monday. I continue to urge Missourians to avoid unnecessary travel, to check on neighbors and folks who might need assistance and to be cautious even while walking in their neighborhoods.”
The Governor said that while the number of power outages has not been high so far, the potential for the loss of power continues to be a concern, particularly in southern and southeast Missouri, where the forecast is for the most significant ice accumulation. Temperatures and wind chills are also expected to plummet to record lows in some areas of the state. The Governor said Ameren-Missouri has moved power restoration crews and additional supplies, including a mobile command center, to southeast Missouri in anticipation of power outages. The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) maintains continuous contact with the American Red Cross and other volunteer and faith-based organizations, which stand ready to establish shelters on short notice if necessary.
“I appreciate the close communication with state officials and the ongoing partnership we have in place to ensure the safety of our citizens during disaster response,” Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “With the Governor’s strong support in disaster preparedness and response, including his vision in building the statewide interoperable radio system (MOSWIN), we stand ready to respond as events unfold.”
The Governor said that since Saturday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has responded to more than 1,500 vehicle slide-offs, crashes, stranded motorists and calls for service, and that MoDOT is using more than 1,500 vehicles to plow and treat roads during the storm. With bitterly cold temperatures, they have applied more than 4,000 tons of abrasives and salt to help clear the roads.
The Governor asked Missourians to report downed power lines immediately to their electric utility; to stay away from them; and to warn others to do so as well.
Gov. Nixon also encourages Missourians to:
- Continue to monitor local news sources for weather forecast updates, information on closures and 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 on a highway.
- Be extremely careful with portable space heaters, keeping anything that can burn at least three feet away, including furniture, drapes, and electronics – anything that can burn. Turn off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.
- If power is lost, remember generators should only be used outside and away from any windows and vents to prevent deadly fumes from entering the home.
- 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 throughout Missouri.