JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in response to a winter storm sweeping across the state.
Nixon said Thursday that the State Emergency Operations Center has been activated. The declaration also allows state agencies to coordinate directly with cities and counties to provide emergency services.
The governor issued the declaration from his office in the Capitol, where he was one of only a few people actually in the building. The House and Senate canceled their sessions Thursday, and most of their offices were closed.
A lone tour guide staffed a Capitol reception desk, but no one had braved the snow to visit the Capitol.
From the office of Governor Jay Nixon:
Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages. The weather system has involved a mix of snow, sleet and ice throughout the state, with forecasts of 10 inches or more of snow in some parts of the state and a wintry mix across many other regions of Missouri.
"A severe winter storm continues to bear down on communities across the state," Gov. Nixon said, "Missouri stands ready to help communities in need and to deploy the resources to keep folks safe. I urge all Missourians to keep a close eye on the weather and avoid unnecessary travel."
The State Emergency Operations Center has been actively monitoring the storm system since yesterday. Gov. Nixon has been receiving updates from his emergency management team, including senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency to assess the current weather situation and review the latest forecasts.
Gov. Nixon has also activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
Citizens 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.
Gov. Nixon also 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 website 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.