ARLINGTON, Va. – National Guard Units are on duty in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, standing by to respond to a major regional winter storm which is expected to drop up to eight inches of snow and ice in affected areas.
In Oklahoma, where Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency in all 77 counties, 214 members of the Army National Guard are on duty and deployed to 12 locations.
The Oklahoma National Guard is providing operational support in response to this storm, which is expected to strike the Oklahoma panhandle. The Oklahoma Guard is not only preparing to handle the expected large amounts of snowfall, but is also anticipating up to one inch of ice, which may cause power outages throughout the region.
"The Oklahoma National Guard will have Stranded Motorist Recover Teams on alert, [whose] primary mission will be assisting with removing cars from ditches," said Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Bruce of the Oklahoma Guard. In addition to the SMRT teams, generators and water will be ready if requested by local authorities, Bruce said.
In Texas, where 54 soldiers were activated, the mission will be similar. Units in Texas have already been mobilized by Gov. Rick Perry, said Army Lt. Col. Joanne Macgregor of the Texas National Guard, adding that they will be assisting the Texas Department of Emergency Management in response to the winter weather. The primary mission of the Texas Guard will be assisting stranded motorists and bringing them to safety if required, Macgregor said.
In Arkansas, 60 members of the Army and Air National Guard were ordered to state active duty yesterday to begin preparing equipment at 12 locations.
This storm is expected to last until this evening, but preparations are underway in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- the anticipated path of the storm system.