Guardmembers in three states called out for weather responses
By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. SmithARLINGTON, Va. (1/22/10) - National Guard members in at least three states were responding today after winter storms crossing the nation brought a multitude of weather warnings, advisories and a state of emergency.
National Guard Bureau
In California, where high surf, floods, landslides and severe winds were reported, National Guard officials reported yesterday the state's joint force headquarters in Sacramento received two mission requests as a result of the heavy rainfall and storms.
Four search and rescue helicopters with hoist capabilities were on standby, including two Air Guard aircraft in the north and two Army Guard aircraft in the south, and six armories were tasked to support evacuations. Sixteen Soldiers and 16 Airmen were called up for state active duty.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office reported Jan. 18 that the California Guard stood "ready to support flood-fighting efforts with personnel and over 20 aircraft if needed" after he ordered civilian and Guard response units on standby.
"We must work together to prepare for and remain safe throughout these storms. I encourage everyone, especially those living around burn areas that have resulted from recent fires, to monitor the latest weather information and follow instructions given by local authorities," said Schwarzenegger in a press release.
The California Emergency Management Agency is on 24-hour standby.
In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency yesterday in response to incoming winter storms. The state's emergency operations center was activated.
State officials predicted snow and rain for Arizona during the next several days. "This precipitation may cause localized flooding in low-lying areas making roads impassable and resulting in flooded washes, creeks and rivers," reported state officials.
As a result, the state's joint force headquarters in Phoenix placed 58 Soldiers on state active duty status in anticipation of various response missions.
In South Dakota, where citizens were bracing themselves for a shellacking of freezing rain, 13 Soldiers were on state active duty in response to the incoming winter storm there.
Gov. Mike Rounds' office urged state residents to "prepare for a winter storm" predicted to "bring significant amounts of freezing rain across much of the state on Friday and Saturday, followed in many areas by six to 12 inches of snow and winds up to 50 mph from Saturday through Monday morning."
"Those conditions will make travel treacherous at best and perhaps impossible for much of the weekend," Tom Dravland, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, said in a state press release. "We are recommending that people with significant medical issues plan to take care of those needs if at all possible before the storm hits during the day on Friday."