JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Eric Greitens will face one of the first big challenges during his term in office as the state braces for a heavy winter storm this weekend. Meteorologists anticipate the storm will bring up to an inch of ice to some parts of the state.
With almost the entire state under an ice storm warning, courtesy of the National Weather Service, Greitens announced a State of Emergency Thursday afternoon from the situation room of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Jefferson City.
After much more minor, but unexpected, ice storms paralyzed Mid-Missouri and St. Louis a few weeks ago, Greitens said the state would be prepared in the face of much worse storms.
“We see this coming, we see the possible effects of Winter Storm Jupiter and we’ve gotten out in front of this so we can respond appropriately,” he said, noting the Missouri Department of Transportation had already begun pre-treating roads across the state. “Yesterday I signed the order opening this emergency operation center. The Missouri Dept. of Transportation has been out already pretreating the roads already in preparation for this event.”
The governor spoke in front a room packed with aid workers sitting around tables preparing to respond to whatever they may receive. He added members of the Missouri National Guard, National Weather Service, Department of Public Safety, SEMA, Missouri State Highway Patrol, MoDOT, and utility and electric companies across the state were ready to help those in need.
“We’re going to be prepared for whatever the storm brings,” he said.
Greitens also gave advice to the citizens of Missouri, urged them to get foods that did not require cooking and to charge their phones tonight in case of power outages. He also asked people not use generators inside for the carbon monoxide they generate and to stay off the roads for Thursday night to Friday to make the jobs of first responders and MoDOT easier.
Disaster preparedness and response has been a hallmark of Missouri governorship in relatively recent history. Former Govs. Mel Carnahan and Jay Nixon were widely praised for their responses to the Great Flood of 1993 and the 2011 Joplin Tornado, respectively. Greitens will have to tackle what is expected to be a major storm just four days into his term.