Remarks from Missouri Governor Eric Greitens:
Good afternoon. We have been closely monitoring what is now being called Winter Storm Jupiter all week. My emergency management team has been tracking the possible effects of this storm and coordinating response plans with state, local and federal agencies.
The National Weather Service has raised the current Winter Storm Watch to a Warning. Of course we pray for the best, but are preparing to respond to ensure that we can protect the lives, health, and safety of the people of Missouri. Winter Storm Jupiter could lead to dangerously icy roads, downed trees, and power outages.
Yesterday, I signed an executive order opening this State Emergency Operations Center, which is now operating 24 hours a day to coordinate our response. We’ve brought together a team here to make sure that we’re ready to respond to any emergency no matter how bad the storm becomes. This includes: The National Weather Service, The Department of Public Safety and the State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri State Highway Patrol, MoDOT, Electric Utilities and Power Companies/Power, and our invaluable faith-based and volunteer response partners, including Convoy of Hope and the Red Cross.
I’ve also assembled our full cabinet. We are meeting immediately following this. They’ve also been working on emergency response plans.
For example, The Department of Health and Senior Services is working to ensure seniors continue to have meals delivered and other support that they rely on.
This afternoon, I declared a state of emergency and called up the Missouri National Guard in preparation for the possible effects of Winter Storm Jupiter. Our main objective is to be prepared for whatever the storm brings.
MoDOT has over 1,500 trucks for winter operations. All will be in operation for this storm. MoDOT has already begun pretreating roads across the state. This will continue through the duration of this storm. MoDOT has also worked all week to make sure it has the resources to respond to power outages and downed trees – prepared essential materials such as generators and chain saws.
This evening more than 3,500 responders begin working 12-hour shifts for the duration of the storm. Employee leave has been canceled.
Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers are working extended shifts, employee leaves have been canceled, and they are pre-positioning essential resources where they think they will be most needed.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety has pre-staged over 100 generators across the state to be used in areas hardest hit by the storm.
As we continue to learn more about this storm, we will share it with the public. We are taking steps to prepare for the possible effects of winter storm Jupiter, and I’d ask the citizens of Missouri to do so as well.
Continue to follow your local weather. But right now there are a few things those at home watching can do to make sure they and their families stay safe. One, now is the time to get the essentials like food and medicine you may need at home for a few days. Have, on hand, foods that don’t require cooking and a manual can opener. Peanut butter and canned foods can help get you through a power outage. Charge your cell phones in case you lose power, and make sure you have flashlights and extra batteries.
Two, I’m requesting that everyone in the path of the storm stay off the roads late tonight going into tomorrow, unless it’s an emergency. This is for your own safety, and the safety of our first responders. Staying off of the roads will allow our emergency crews to work tonight without interruption to keep us all safe.
I’ve directed the Commissioner of the Office of Administration to implement the state’s hazardous weather travel policy for state employees as appropriate. We will continue to monitor the situation, and if the need arises we will encourage businesses to delay opening, or close, on Friday. I encourage everyone to keep an eye on the latest information and always have safety in mind as their number one concern. We will continue to work with school systems across the state to closely monitor this situation and ensure the safety of our children.
Please also remind your neighbors: if they are using a generator, do not bring a generator inside. This includes garages – this is very dangerous, and can be deadly. Generators release carbon monoxide. One of the main causes of death during a storm like this is people who leave generators inside.
For more information, you can go to MO.gov. We’ve put up resources on how you can keep yourself and your family safe. There is also an interactive map to show if the storm will affect you and your neighbors.
Check on your neighbors -- especially the elderly, the disabled or those who you think may need extra assistance during the storm.
As we receive more information on the possible effects of winter storm Jupiter, we will keep you updated.
I’d ask that everyone say an extra prayer tonight for our first responders and all of those who are working around the clock to keep us safe.
Thank you very much.