National Guard Activated In Missouri During Winter Storm, Warming Centers Open Around Region
In anticipation of potential travel disruptions, members of the Missouri National Guard will be positioned around the state, assisting the Missouri State Highway Patrol with stranded motorists if the need arises.
Missouri is expected to face severe winter weather from Wednesday evening to Friday afternoon, warning of significant accumulations of snow, sleet, and ice.
More than half of the state is currently under a Winter Storm Warning.
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Parson signedExecutive Order 22-02 declaring a State of Emergency in Missouri and activating the Missouri National Guard in preparation for the severe winter storm.
Executive Order 22-02 activates the State Emergency Operations Plan, allowing state agencies to assist with emergency preparation and response.
In anticipation of potential travel disruptions, members of the Missouri National Guardwill be positioned around the state, assisting the Missouri State Highway Patrol with stranded motorists if the need arises.
In preparation for the winter weather, Mike O’Connell communication director at the State Emergency Management Agency said the best way to protect yourself and others from severe winter weather is by avoiding travel.
“The reason for that is people wind up getting stranded in their cars in traffic and on the interstate. The idea is that you may be a pretty good driver in the snow, but that's not going to prevent somebody else from crashing it to you or a truck and shutting down the interstate,” said O’Connell. “That also allows the emergency crews to get to people who might be injured, and it allows the road crews to do their jobs more quickly clear the roads.”
The Governor also urged Missourians to avoid travel, but if travel is necessary, slow down, increase following distance, ensure the gas tank is full, and have an emergency kit that contains snacks, water, phone chargers, blankets, and flashlights.
O’Connell explained that in the circumstance of lost power, the best thing individuals can do to stay safe is keep their cell phones and electronics charged.
“If you lose power, you've still got a way to communicate with the world,” said O'Connell,
O’Connell mentions that this provides homebound individuals to access other outlets for safety.
He also explains that in extreme situations, there are ways to retain heat with no power at home.
“Obviously you're going to want to layer up, put on a hat, and then close off unused rooms, unnecessary rooms that you don't need so that you can all huddle in that living room and be together and try to stay warm,” said O’Connell.
O’Connell urges Missourians to pay close attention to their local weather forecasts, as weather conditions may change.
“This is a multiphase event, and there may be some lulls in precipitation, that doesn't mean the storm is over,” said O’Connell.
Various shelters will be open for community members in the Southeast Missouri area, including The Warming Center at Spread Hope Now in Sikeston, Riverside Regional Library andJackson Oaks Senior Center in Jackson, and Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center.
For a full list of warming centers around the state, visit the Missouri DHSS website.