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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, freezing rain and winds up to 30 miles per hour through Central Wisconsin, from River Falls to the Green Bay Area.

Walker declared a state of emergency Wednesday (Mar. 23), which authorized Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, to activate the National Guard.

“This storm is bringing heavy snow, strong winds, and potential blizzard conditions across the state tonight,” Governor Walker said. “It may cause dangerous drifting and blowing snow as well as limited visibility on roads and highways, causing treacherous driving conditions. As a precautionary measure, we want to ensure all state resources are available and ready if needed. We urge all Wisconsinites to be cautious of the weather conditions and remain safe while outside or driving.”

The Wisconsin National Guard will stage 16 winter force packages, consisting of approximately 113 Guard members and equipment in seven-person teams, prepositioned in armories in the path of the storm. They will be prepared to 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.

“As the state’s first military responder we prepare for these missions,” Dunbar said. “By prepositioning forces, we will be standing by, ready to answer the call if local authorities need assistance.”