Gov. Jay Nixon this morning briefed U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on ongoing recovery operations throughout Missouri after severe storms and tornadoes hit the state earlier this week.
The Governor briefed Secretary Napolitano on current missions by both the Missouri National Guard and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to assist local communities with security and recovery operations. Under orders from Gov. Nixon, the National Guard has deployed Citizen-Soldiers to conduct security operations in the Branson and Kimberling City areas. Troopers from the Highway Patrol also are assisting Kimberling City officials by closing water traffic to the cove at Port Kimberling Marina to allow clean-up and repair operations to move forward.
Across the state, joint state-federal teams are conducting damage assessments to determine the complete impact of the storms. The Missouri Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation (SAVE) Coalition is assisting with structural inspections in Branson. The SAVE Coalition is a group of engineers and architects who evaluate the safety of buildings that have been damaged by storms; the coalition is deployed through the State Emergency Management Agency.
Gov. Nixon personally visited Branson, Buffalo, Cassville, Oak Ridge and Puxico earlier this week to survey the damage and meet with local law enforcement and emergency management officials. While Gov. Nixon was surveying storm damage on Thursday, he also spoke personally with President Barack Obama.
"These deadly storms caused significant damage across Missouri, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those we lost," Gov. Nixon said. "I commend the outstanding work by the men and women of our law enforcement and emergency management communities over the past few days. Their dedicated efforts saved lives, protected personal property and ensured that the rule of law remained intact. When it comes to emergency management, we've seen time and again that preparation and training are vital. This week, preparation saved lives."