In anticipation of the severe winter storm forecasted to hit the state, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a State of Disaster Emergency Declaration effective at 6 a.m. today (Feb. 1). The declaration activates the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan, authorizing state resources and funds to expedite emergency assistance statewide.
"We have learned from past experience that we can't wait for the storm to hit before we respond," Gov. Brownback said. "We need to anticipate the storm's impact and pre-position our resources where they are likely to be the most effective."
The Governor urged Kansans to also prepare the winter storm's impact on their community and if they would be traveling.
"We ask Kansans to be extremely careful as this storm moves across the state. Ice, snow and bitterly cold temperatures will make for very dangerous conditions. Planning ahead could save your life and that of your family," Brownback said.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to a "Watch Level" with 24/7 staffing at 7 a.m. Monday. The SEOC will be raised to partial activation Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. which means representatives from a number of the state's public safety and first responder agencies will be in the SEOC monitoring the storm as it progresses and coordinating response efforts.
"We are ready to assist counties across the state if local entities are overwhelmed and need support," Brownback said.
53 Kansas counties are named in the declaration as areas likely to be affected. They are: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Franklin, Geary, Greenwood, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Miami, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington, Wilson, Woodson, and Wyandotte Counties.