MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Spring snow fall has triggered partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).
A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) says the biggest impacts from this spring snow storm are widespread power outages, downed power lines and downed trees.
“The EOC is activated for all hazards,” said Bruce Gordon, the director of communications for DPS and Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM). “This spring snow storm has caught a lot of people off guard. And it’s caused a lot damage and problems for folks in southwestern Minnesota.”
Gordon says HSEM is coordinating with several agencies including the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Health, the National Guard and the DPS division of Emergency Communication Networks. The counties that have been impacted include Nobles, Cottonwood, Murray and Rock.
“One of the reasons we opened the center was to make sure that those affected by the storm in southwestern Minnesota could reach out to the state if they needed help,” Gordon said.
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In Luverne, 35 juveniles from a nearby facility needed a place to stay after the power was knocked out in their building. They’re now being housed at The Luverne National Guard Armory.
“This type of support mission is one we prepare for on a regular basis,” said Army Master Sgt. Matthew R. Pease, noncommissioned officer in charge of operations for the Joint Operations Center, Minnesota National Guard.
“The last time we assisted personnel during severe weather was during a blizzard on Dec. 9, 2012,” said Pease. “We provided shelter for 88 stranded motorists at Olivia’s Armory.
The storm also forced the closure of the Nobles County government center. And a nursing home in the town of Hills is operating on a generator, as well as hospitals in Nobles County.
HSEM says they’re also working with local officials to clear debris. One of the hardest hit communities was Worthington.
“Heavy wet snow fell, a lot of trees were toppled, power lines that were hit. That impacted a lot of services in that community,” Gordon said.
On Wednesday afternoon Gov. Mark Dayton called out the National Guard.
Dayton issued an emergency executive order activating the guard.
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