Governor Mobilizes National Guard and State Agencies to Assist Locals and Prepare for High Winds
Dec. 04, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY - Just after 8:00 this morning Governor Gary R. Herbert ordered the Utah National Guard, the Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) and the Dept. of Transportation (UDOT) to assist Davis County residents and local emergency response officials in preparing for another possible wind event late this afternoon and early evening. Following last night's high wind warning and subsequent public alerts from the Governor, state, county and local officials assessed conditions in Davis County throughout the night to determine if additional state resources were needed to mitigate possible property damage or personal injury, should debris from the last high wind event become airborne in the anticipated storm.
In conjunction with UDOT meteorologists, the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a high wind advisory which calls for sustained winds of 35-45 MPH, with gusts up to 75 MPH, beginning late Sunday afternoon and dying down Monday morning. The highest winds are predicted to occur between 10:00 PM tonight and 1:00 AM Monday. The wind event is expected to overlap with a snow storm, and blowing snow could produce white-out conditions and flying debris. That debris, created by the last wind event, could be dangerous if airborne.
Last night, the Governor called on citizens to prepare and assist one another. Today, he reiterated his warning. "Please immediately secure loose material on your property, home or business. Then, once the storm arrives, please remain indoors and off the roads, if possible. Anticipate further power outages and prepare accordingly. Lastly, please look out for your neighbors. This is going to take a team effort," he said.
Early this morning Governor Herbert led a conference call between state, county and local officials, as well as the National Guard and emergency responders. Individual plans were made for Davis County communities requesting assistance, primarily Bountiful, Centerville, Farmington and Kaysville.
Plans include activating the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Davis County's local emergency command center. DPS will deploy additional troopers and coordinate with commercial vehicle communication networks. The National Guard will mobilize heavy equipment and personnel, including several dump trucks and loaders. The National Guard will also provide traffic control at the Davis County landfill. UDOT will deploy additional equipment as needed, but the Governor underscored the need for good judgment and optimal resource allocation, as UDOT must have equipment ready to handle roads impacted by the snow and storm.
Local residents are requested to assist in the effort with personal trucks and trailers. Some communities plan to utilize their reverse 911 system to alert residents. Many local religious congregations have abbreviated or canceled services and mobilized members to get debris from neighborhoods to centralized city pick up points.
With a staging area at 700 North Main, Bountiful, city officials have divided Bountiful into a grid and identified priority areas for initial National Guard response.
Centerville has also staged five local pick up points for both green and non-green waste.
Waste from each community will be loaded by the National Guard and transported to the Bountiful and Davis County landfills. Green waste will also be accepted at the Davis County sewer plant. Green waste fees have been waived at the Davis County landfill.
Organizational structure and communication networks between state, county and city responders are in place to insure a coordinated and agile response, as conditions and needs warrant. Citizens should be patient, and anticipate congestion and delays at landfill entrances. Landfill staff and National Guard responders will direct personal vehicles and heavy equipment to ensure timely disposal of materials and safe traffic flow. County law enforcement will also assist.
Before wrapping up this morning's conference call, the Governor noted the extent of this past week's significant wind event and that some residents are still challenged by power outages and property damage. He commended local and state officials, as well as local residents, for an exceptional clean-up effort within neighborhoods. He concluded, "Now let's get out and get after it."
The Governor will be overseeing National Guard, UDOT and DPS efforts throughout the day and plans to monitor coordination at the State EOC and local sites.
Media outlets are requested to assist the State in notifying residents. Updated information is also available via Twitter and at http://utahemergencyinfo.com .