Burgum: State Emergency Operations Plan activated, agencies closely monitoring major early winter storm

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BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota’s State Emergency Operations Plan has been activated and state agencies are closely monitoring this winter storm in case local response capabilities become overwhelmed, Gov. Doug Burgum said today.

“The extraordinary intensity of this early winter storm threatens to test the limits of local response capabilities across a large portion of our state,” Burgum said. “We’re committed to a whole-of-government approach to protect human life and property and ensure our citizens have the resources necessary to respond and recover from this crippling event.”

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (DES) is closely monitoring conditions to support local and tribal officials during this storm. Response resources, including those of the North Dakota National Guard, are pre-positioned across the state, and required personnel are on notice, if needed, to aid the citizens of North Dakota.

State agencies also have been in close contact with one another and with local emergency managers to anticipate equipment and personnel needs should the storm exceed local response capabilities. As of now, no local or tribal emergency declarations have been issued.

Agencies that have collaborated on these efforts this week include the North Dakota Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, National Guard, Department of Agriculture, Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Civil Air Patrol, State Radio, State Water Commission, National Weather Service, Rural Electric Cooperative Association and voluntary agencies, including the Red Cross.

As the storm works across the state over the weekend, DES will continue to monitor conditions.

“In the wake of this storm, we need to keep our agricultural community in mind. After an unusually wet late summer and early fall, this current weather pattern will only exacerbate some of the challenges farmers and ranchers are facing. The state is exploring all possible means to assist the agricultural community,” said Burgum, who issued a joint release Thursday with state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring about the state’s efforts.

North Dakotans are encouraged to keep their neighbors in mind during these stressful times. There are many resources available for those who may be struggling and need someone to visit with, including local health care providers and mental health professionals, local counselors, social workers or clergy members. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline also is available at 800-273-TALK.

Areas of North Dakota may face heightened flood risk next spring if this abnormally high precipitation lingers over the winter. Those who think they may benefit from it are encouraged to consider purchasing flood insurance. Information is available through the North Dakota Insurance Department website at www.nd.gov/ndins/flood.

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