JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon has activated the State Emergency Operations Center in preparation of the winter weather that will hit the St. Louis area Thursday night and Friday morning.

The storm will bring freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice to many parts of Missouri. The center was activated after speaking with officials with the National Weather Service and local emergency management agencies.

RADAR: Check the NewsChannel 5 Interactive Radar

"This storm system could create hazardous conditions and potentially lead to power outages," said Gov. Nixon said. "The latest forecasts call for ice to accumulate in some areas before turning to sleet and snow, particularly in southeast Missouri. As we know from past winter storms, the best way to ensure safety is to plan ahead and avoid travel if possible. This also allows road crews to clear roads faster and speeds the response of emergency crews."

The governor urges residents in the path of the winter storm to stay informed by listening to radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio reports. Emergency information will be available through these outlets, as well as the website.

STORY: Winter weather moves into area

Anyone who must drive during the storm should check the state's website for road conditions before leaving. If you are involved in an accident, call the Missouri State Highway Patrol's emergency line for assistance by dialing *55 from a cell phone.

Residents are also reminded to check on elderly neighbors who may need help. Anyone who needs shelter information is urged to call 211 from any phone. If that line does not work, citizens may also call 800-427-4626.

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