JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – About 600 members of the Missouri National Guard have been activated by Governor Mike Parson to help respond to this winter storm.
From midnight Wednesday through Thursday afternoon, more than 1,500 drivers were stranded on Missouri’s roads. Some motorists may be surprised to see the National Guard come to help, but the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) says in a storm like this, those members are needed. .
“We’ve done pretty well so far, but we still have a lot of ways to go,” MSHP Captain John Hotz said on Thursday.
A second day of winter weather was full of crashes and vehicle breakdowns across major states, but MSHP said the weather was better than expected.
“You look at the numbers that we’ve seen on this storm so far, they’ve fallen dramatically from what we’ve seen in previous years and I think getting the message across that people Avoiding travel if possible is key,” says Hotz.
In addition to stranded drivers, the state patrol responded to more than 2,600 service calls and 556 collisions with 35 injuries and 1 death.
Hotz said most of the calls the patrol received were to stranded motorists who had slipped off the roadway or got stuck in the snow.
“We don’t want people to be out there for a long time without food and water, so in case anything like that happens, we’ve got a plan,” Hotz said. .
Earlier this month, hundreds of cars were stranded on I-95 for hours after a winter storm made landfall in the Richmond, VA., area.
“The National Guard can come out and help us with stranded motorists and people who are struggling,” Hotz said. “The last thing we want is a situation like what happened on the east coast on Interstate 95.”
That plan includes the Missouri National Guard, activated by Parson Tuesday night when he declared a State of Emergency. 600 members of the Guard are stationed in units off Interstate 70 and 44.
“We are working with them to help communicate and help get them to the areas where we need support,” Hotz said. “Given the sheer numbers we have, they are also helping in getting to some of the locations that patrol or exploration vehicles may not be able to reach.”
Hotz said one example of this was in central Missouri earlier in the week.
“We had a call on a gravel road there, and we had trouble reaching that people. So the National Guard was able to use their Humvee type vehicle to get out there and support those people,” Hotz said. “Once they’ve been given this detailed assignment, then they’re working with our soldiers like they’re out of site.”
But once the snow stopped on Thursday night, the concern, was alcohol.
“We also know with the wind that we could see some snowmobiles, so once you spot those areas, there could still be some drift issues there, so avoid travel, if possible,” says Hotz.
He credited the Missourians, for heeding warnings, to be less destructive on the roads.
“If you look out here on the roads, there’s not a lot of traffic out there so they’ve got that message, they’ve heeded that message, and I think that’s one of the things that bring those numbers down. ,” said Hotz.
The state has used the National Guard in the past for heavy snowstorms. During the State of Emergency, the Guard is active until the order ceases, which is until March 3.
Hotz also encourages drivers to use Map of MoDOT for tourists before leaving, if they must go somewhere.
https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/hundreds-of-national-guard-troops-help-stranded-drivers-in-missouri/ Hundreds of National Guard soldiers help stranded motorists in Missouri