JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The Alaska Army National Guard is assisting the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, where winter storm wind gusts up to 90 mph have knocked out power, damaged infrastructure and made road and air travel hazardous.
Authorities have advised residents in affected areas to shelter in place for the duration of the storm.
Ten Alaska Army National Guard members and several vehicles were staged at the Alcantra National Guard Armory in Wasilla Jan. 5. They were on standby to help local officials evacuate isolated people to warming shelters and manage traffic along roads that may be restricted to single lanes due to drifting snow. Guard members also provide Mat-Su Borough Emergency Operations personnel access to generators owned by the Alaska State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).
Gov. Mike Dunleavy declared a disaster emergency Jan. 3 in multiple boroughs and areas of the state impacted by severe winter storms, extreme winds and cold.
The Mat-Su Emergency Operations Center asked the SEOC for help evacuating people stranded in their homes. The SEOC requested the National Guard’s assistance.
“The Alaska National Guard is always trained and ready to support fellow Alaskans,” said Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard. “We are staging personnel, vehicles and equipment in order to provide rapid response and to protect the lives and property of those in need.”
Task Force-MatSu includes Soldiers from the 297th Regional Support Group and is assigned one Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, one High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, and one four-wheel drive passenger vehicle to support Mat-Su Borough.
Earlier, the Alaska National Guard provided emergency response assistance to the Fairbanks North Star Borough after extreme snow and ice in Interior Alaska caused power outages and stranded some residents.