Gov. Jay Nixon today activated the State Emergency Operations Center for 24-hour a day operations in response to a winter storm system that threatens to bring freezing rain, sleet, snow and ice to much of Missouri. The Governor and state emergency officials have been tracking the weather system's approach this week and continue to be in close contact with the National Weather Service and local emergency management agencies to monitor conditions.
"This storm system could create hazardous conditions and potentially lead to power outages," Gov. Nixon said. "The latest forecasts call for ice to accumulate in some areas before turning to sleet and snow, particularly in southeast Missouri. As we know from past winter storms, the best way to ensure safety is to plan ahead and avoid travel if possible. This also allows road crews to clear roads faster and speeds the response of emergency crews."
In addition to the State Emergency Management Agency operating SEOC around the clock, other state agencies have mobilized to respond. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has extended shifts in areas expected to be affected, and all available four-wheel drive vehicles have been prepared to respond, among other preparations. The Missouri Department of Transportation continues to treat roads for snow and ice and has shifted staff to areas expected to be most impacted. Other state agencies are working with their local partners.
The Governor 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 frigid temperatures and the potential for another storm system over the weekend. 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.