By Steve Marshall
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (2/25/13) - Plains states blasted last week by heavy snowfall were again battered Monday and National Guard troops were positioned to help.
National Guard members in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas were ready for the storm system, which has the potential to drop a foot or more of snow in many areas. Officials closed highways in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles; Missouri issued warnings on Monday as well.
"Take this storm seriously," said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. "Postpone travel plans if you are in the path of the heaviest predicted snow. If you must travel, don’t get on the road without a charged cell phone, a full tank of gas and an emergency kit with food, water and other essentials."
Heavy snow is developing over the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles, and is expected to progress into the state from southwest to northeast through the next 24-36 hours.
"Our State Emergency Operations Center is monitoring this closely," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. "We have National Guard troops standing by ready to assist and are in constant communication with county emergency managers."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry activated Texas Military Forces (TXMF) personnel and equipment; those resources will be used to provide assistance as necessary on roadways as the storm makes its way across the region, according to a statement from Texas Military Forces.
"As this blizzard makes its way through the panhandle and conditions warrant, we will continue to push state resources to the area to assist impacted communities," Perry said. "Visibility in many places is quickly deteriorating, and I urge all Texans in the storm's path to remain vigilant and heed warnings from local officials. As always, Texas is thankful for the brave men and women who stand ready to respond to events that place their fellow Texans in harm's way."
Blizzard conditions will continue to blanket the northern Texas Panhandle today through Tuesday with a snowfall rate of 2-3 inches per hour. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for dozens of counties in the region, as winds are expected to increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph, producing near-whiteout conditions.
The Oklahoma National Guard announced Monday that it established teams to aid stranded motorists. Teams accompanied by state troopers were to stand by at specific locations, unlike previously when they roamed, according to a statement from the Oklahoma Guard.