Governor Hassan Declares State of Emergency, Closes State Government on Tuesday in Advance of Winter Storm
Governor Also Encourages Granite Staters to Avoid Travel and to Take Precautions
CONCORD – In advance of a major winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds, Governor Maggie Hassan today declared a State of Emergency and announced that state government will be closed on Tuesday, January 27, for personnel not essential to public safety, public health or the storm response.
“In advance of the major winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds, we have been working with state emergency management officials, other state agencies, local communities and utilities to take every precaution to ensure the safety of our people and communities,” Governor Hassan said. “I am declaring a State of Emergency and closing state government tomorrow for personnel not essential to public safety, public health or the storm response, and I encourage private companies and local governments to do the same.”
“With possible whiteout and blizzard-like conditions throughout the day, Granite Staters should stay at home if at all possible and avoid the roads, as they will be dangerous,” Governor Hassan said. “People should make sure that they have emergency supplies and are prepared to stay at home for one or two days, and I ask you to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or people with disabilities, throughout the course of the storm.”
The state Emergency Operations Center will open at midnight and remain open as long as necessary depending on the duration and severity of the storm, and National Guard personnel have been notified to be ready to assist with storm response as well.
Governor Hassan and state emergency management officials have been communicating directly with local emergency response agencies, school districts and utilities. Widespread power outages are not expected, but the utilities have emergency plans in place and extra response crews on standby.
State public safety and emergency management officials are working with local entities to open warming stations and shelters as needed. For more information about shelters, including the closest pet-friendly shelter, residents can contact 2-1-1 NH toll-free by dialing 2-1-1 in state or 1-866-444-4211 from out of state.
The storm will begin tonight, with the heaviest snowfall expected between midnight tonight and noon tomorrow, with up to one or two inches of snow per hour. Visibility will be low, with possible whiteout conditions throughout the day, and winds are expected to exceed 50 miles per hour.
By 7 p.m. Tuesday night, the southeastern part of the state could receive 14-20 inches of snow, while central New Hampshire could receive 10-14 inches and northern New Hampshire up to 10 inches. In addition to a blizzard warning for eastern Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford Counties and winter storm warning for all other counties except for northern Coos, the National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning.
In addition to stocking up on emergency supplies, such as water and canned food, in advance of the storm, New Hampshire residents are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Monitor weather conditions via news media, NOAA weather radio or Internet sources.
- Avoid road travel if at all possible during the storm to allow public works crews to clear and treat the roads.
- Anyone who has to drive should slow down, allow extra space between vehicles and follow all traffic signs and notices. Drivers could experience sudden whiteout conditions during high wind gusts and should be prepared to be stranded in cold temperatures.
- Keep vehicle fuel tanks at least half full.
- Monitor snow loading, especially on flat roofs.
- Be a good neighbor and check on the well-being of relatives and acquaintances, especially the elderly or others with special needs.
- If the power goes out:
o Use flashlights and battery-powered lanterns, not candles, for emergency lighting.
o Operate emergency generators safely, with exhaust directed away from buildings.
o Never use outdoor cooking appliances indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
o Report the outage to your electric utility.
o Stay clear of downed wires. Always assume downed power lines are live.
Additional information, including safety and preparedness tips, is available at http://www.nh.gov/readynh/.
The full text of the Governor’s emergency declaration is below and attached:
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
BY HER EXCELLENCY
MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR
Executive Order 2015-1
An Order Declaring a State of Emergency Due to Severe Winter Storm
WHEREAS, today, January 26, 2015, a winter storm has begun to move toward New Hampshire with extreme winter weather and blizzard conditions predicted throughout the State; and
WHEREAS, winter storm warnings and coastal flood warnings have been issued; and
WHEREAS, the National Weather Service has forecasted the severe weather to continue throughout the evening and through tomorrow, bringing heavy snowfall, high winds, whiteout conditions and coastal flooding; and
WHEREAS, blizzard warnings are in effect for Rockingham, Hillsborough and Strafford counties, with potential snowfall of over 24 inches and wind gusts of over fifty to fifty-five miles per hour; and
WHEREAS, hazardous driving conditions with drifting snow, whiteouts and road blockages are predicted throughout the state and travel will be treacherous beginning late tonight and many roads could become impassable; and
WHEREAS, the state’s beaches are closed due to potential coastal flooding and strong and gusting winds are predicted during the evening of up to 50 miles per hour over the water, and up to 24-foot seas are expected off the New Hampshire coast; and
WHEREAS, the state anticipates that it may need to open emergency shelters to provide emergency services to displaced individuals in the event of power outages and below-freezing temperatures; and
WHEREAS, I have directed Homeland Security and Emergency Management and other state agencies to prepare for the potential impacts of the storm by activating the Emergency Operations Center, implementing the State’s Emergency Operations Plan, monitoring weather and flood conditions, and providing local assistance and planning in anticipation of this severe weather event; and
WHEREAS, despite these emergency preparations, the storm is anticipated to cause extensive damage in areas of highest snowfall in southern New Hampshire and along the coast; and
WHEREAS, under the provisions of New Hampshire RSA 4:45, I find that a natural disaster of major proportions is imminent within this state, and that the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this state require the declaration of a state of emergency as defined in RSA 21-P:35, VIII;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, by the authority vested in me by part II, article 41 of the New Hampshire Constitution and New Hampshire RSA 4:45, do hereby declare a state of emergency to exist in the State of New Hampshire as of 11 p.m. on January 26, 2015.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the emergency management powers under my direction pursuant to RSA 4:47, 21-P:34 et. seq., and the State’s Emergency Operations Plan.
I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as possible, this executive order be filed with the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this executive order.
Given under my hand and seal at the Executive Chambers in Concord, this 26th day of January, in the Year of our Lord, two thousand and fifteen, and the independence of the United States of America, two hundred and thirty-nine.
GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE