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Gov. Scott Walker has called the Wisconsin National Guard to state active duty ahead of a strong winter storm that could bring more than 12 inches of snow and freezing rain, and winds up to 50 miles per hour.

Walker declared a state of emergency at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 19), which authorizes Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, to activate the National Guard.

The Wisconsin National Guard will stage 10 winter force packages, consisting of approximately 140 Guard members and equipment in seven-person teams, with seven force packages in the northwest and three force packages in the southeast areas of the state. They will augment local authorities with manpower and mobility, performing such emergency response duties as rendering aid to stranded motorists and performing welfare checks in affected areas. They will provide 24-hour coverage in 12-hour shifts.

“This kind of support is one of our core responsibilities,” Dunbar said. “We plan and prepare for contingencies such as this, and we will be ready to assist when needed.”