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NEWS | Dec. 29, 2006

National Guard Responds to Second Colorado Storm

By Sgt. Sara Wood American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - About 165 members of the Colorado National Guard have been activated since yesterday in the wake of the state's second blizzard in 10 days, the state adjutant general said today.

This latest storm dumped up to 28 inches of snow in some parts of the state, and Guard troops are ready to perform many of the same missions they did when the first blizzard. So far, they only had one mission -- to re-supply two Red Cross shelters this morning, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Mason C. Whitney.

"There's a lot of ice, a lot of snow pack, so it's still dangerous out here, but we haven't seen the requirement for the National Guard to be called out in the numbers we had last week," Whitney said.

During the first storm, which hit Dec. 20, Army National Guardsmen rescued stranded motorists, cleared roadways for emergency vehicles and delivered American Red Cross supplies to emergency shelters.

The Guard has been preparing for the past two days for this second storm, and about 70 vehicles are ready to respond if they are needed for relief operations, Whitney said.

The storm last week kept the Guard much busier, because it hit quickly in the middle of the work week, and in the middle of rush hour, stranding many motorists. This week's blizzard is slower-moving and has less wind, which has made it easier for snow plows to clear the roads, Whitney said.

Whitney said the Guard today is going to reduce the number of activated soldiers to 105, but will be ready to provide additional troops if the storm worsens over the weekend, Whitney said. The storm is expected to last through tomorrow and into the morning of Dec. 31.

"Right now, we're just kind of standing by," he said. "We're kind of in an insurance policy this time."