HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (Jan. 6, 2014) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick mobilized nearly 400 Soldiers and Airmen of the Massachusetts National Guard early Thursday morning in response to a severe January snowstorm that dumped nearly two-feet of snow in areas of Central and Western Massachusetts.

Soldiers and Airmen were called up on state active duty to provide support to civil authorities in response to the current winter storm conditions in order to save lives, prevent further injury and protect critical infrastructure.

"Our Soldiers and Airmen have been working throughout the night to safeguard the citizens of the commonwealth in partnership with the state police and other local first responders. We have been working through [the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency] to ensure that we respond to the right situation, with the right people and equipment, at the right time," said Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard.

Our immediate tasks were to develop emergency response plans and evaluate conditions pending specific support (requests) from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency," Rice said.

The Massachusetts National Guard will also provide disaster response to the citizens of the commonwealth in the aftermath of the January snowstorm. Priority will be to communities in the higher elevations of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Worcester counties. The Massachusetts National Guard will also monitor coastal communities in anticipation of high tidal surge.

The Massachusetts National Guard's Task Force Patriot provided command and control of Soldiers, Airmen and equipment from the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 51st Troop Command, 151st Regional Support Group, 65th Public Affairs Operations Center, 104th Fighter Wing and 102nd Intelligence Wing.

In the nation's heartland, officials in Kansas were urging residents to prepare for an anticipated weekend storm.

The National Weather Service is forecasting two cold fronts with the first bringing colder temperatures into Kansas on Saturday with snowfall accumulations ranging from a quarter inch to an inch and a half.

Then dangerously low temperatures are expected to move into much of the state Sunday with winds of 20 to 25 miles an hour and wind chills of 10 to 30 degrees below zero Sunday night through Tuesday morning.

"This is an extremely dangerous forecast and taking precautions to ensure your safety and your family's safety is essential," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, director of Kansas Division of Emergency Management and adjutant general. "Simply, put, these temperatures and wind chills can be deadly."

"If you must travel in these conditions, make sure your cell phone is charged, your gas tank is full, and you have plenty of items to help you stay safe if your vehicle stalls or you are in an accident and have to wait for help," Tafanelli added.