Gov. Walz takes steps to prepare for winter storm; authorized National Guard to provide emergency services

(ABC 6 News) – A powerful winter storm has its eye on Minnesota with heavy snow forecasted to blanket much of the state through Thursday including one foot of snow or more in some locations.

Gov. Walz along with Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, Army Major General Shawn Manke, Commissioner of Public Safety Bob Jacobson, and Commissioner of Transportation Nancy Daubenberger, has declared a peacetime emergency and authorized the National Guard to provide emergency relief services for stranded motorists across the state.

“Minnesotans are no strangers to extreme weather, but this storm could break records. Our agencies are collaborating closely to make sure we’re prepared – and Minnesotans have a part to play, too. Plan ahead, drive safe, and limit travel,” said Governor Walz.

Minnesota State Troopers will be on state highways with dispatchers also ready to assist Minnesotans. The National Guard is prepared to respond quickly to rescue stranded motorists or provide other assistance, at the direction of the Department of Public Safety’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and as requested by county officials. HSEM is also coordinating efforts to prepare for power outages and response challenges.

“MnDOT has more than 800 snowplows and 1,600 snowplow drivers across the state,” said Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger. “Our crews are prepared and ready, and will be working tirelessly day and night to keep highways as safe for travel as possible. We urge Minnesotans to plan ahead, stay home if you can, and check for latest road conditions.”

Minnesota state agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety’s HSEM, and the Minnesota National Guard are closely coordinating to prepare.