February 29, 2012
Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in response to severe storms, including tornadoes, across Missouri
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon this morning (Wednesday, Feb. 29) signed Executive Order 12-03 to declare a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe storms that began late last night and continued into the early morning hours. The weather system has involved tornadoes and high winds and has caused the loss of life, numerous injuries and significant damage to communities across Missouri, including communities such as Branson, Buffalo, Cassville, Lebanon and Oak Ridge.
Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon were in Cassville on Feb. 29, 2012 to meet with state and local emergency officials and to view damage from the tornadoes that hit Missouri overnight.
Personnel at the State Emergency Management Agency have been communicating with local law enforcement and emergency responders and tracking the storms as they moved across Missouri. This Executive Order activates the State Emergency Management Plan, which allows state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with their emergency response.
Initial reports indicate that the storms have resulted in at least three deaths, numerous injuries and significant, widespread damage in several communities in southwest and southeast Missouri. There was significant damage to business and tourist locations in Branson, including hotels and theaters.
"My emergency management team and I have been tracking these storms through the night and coordinating with local officials to ensure the safety of affected Missourians and to make sure that local responders have the resources and support they need," Gov. Nixon said. "As we did throughout 2011's numerous emergencies, the state of Missouri will assist at every stage of this response to keep Missouri families safe and help communities recover and rebuild."
Gov. Nixon plans visits this afternoon to areas impacted by the storm to observe damage and meet with local officials, responders and affected residents.
Shelters for residents affected by the storm have been established in Branson, Buffalo, Kimberling City and Lebanon. Shelter information is available at MO.gov.
Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information or referrals are urged to call 211. The 211 service number is now available for most areas in Missouri. In areas where the 211 number is not operational, citizens can call 800-427-4626. Weather and emergency information also are available on the state of Missouri's website, MO.gov.
State agencies that can be activated for duty under the Governor's 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.