By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike R. SmithDecember 14, 2007
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Dec. 14, 2007) -- More than 140 National Guard members in the Midwest responded this week to a band of deadly, mid-December storms that stretched from eastern Texas to the Ohio Valley and into northern New York and New England.
Trees and power lines in some states were brought down by inch-thick ice accumulations, which closed roadways and left thousands in need of emergency assistance from federal, local and state agencies.
In Kansas, the Kansas National Guard provided emergency power for water-treatment facilities, sewer systems and shelters in at least two counties. Nearly 130,000 residents were without power there. Guard units also delivered cots to Red Cross shelters and were planning observation flights to check on remote residents.
"We have seen a huge increase in requests for Guard support," said Sharron Watson, a Kansas Guard spokesperson. "Generator missions have been the biggest request, but we have also had our Guard members out clearing roadways in southeast Kansas."
In Missouri, Governor Matt Blunt declared a state of emergency Sunday. National Guard members activated that night and were out on the streets providing assistance by Monday morning.
Guard members in the state responded quickly to the call. An Army Guard armory in the state was used as a warming shelter and Soldiers provided security for residents there. Soldiers also provided transportation and cleared debris from roadways. Members of the 203rd Engineer Battalion provided generators and conducted door-to-door wellness checks for rural areas in Barton County.
In neighboring Oklahoma, Governor Brad Henry declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties, due to the widespread freezing rain there. The state's joint-operations center coordinated missions and Guard members there responded to requests for assistance by transporting 100 cots and opening a Red Cross warming shelter at the armory in Broken Arrow.
Oklahoma Guard members also responded to at least five requests for emergency power in the state's northeastern region. They provided fresh water to residents in Wikiupp and delivered more than 1,000 sandbags in Clatsop County.
(Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith works for the National Guard Bureau Public Affairs Office. Missouri National Guard Capt. Tammy Spicer contributed to this article.)