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Gov. Sanders sends National Guard to Lowell and Fort Smith to combat winter weather

Gov. Sarah Sanders has activated the Arkansas National Guard to help support state police in Northwest Arkansas during the winter storm.

ARKANSAS, USA — Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has activated Arkansas National Guard troops to support state police in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley as icy weather hits the area.

On Monday, the Arkansas National Guard announced the activation starting at noon.

“We’re here until Arkansas State Police deem that the response assistance is no longer needed," said Captain Andrew Pang with the Arkansas National Guard.

Troops are headed to Lowell and Fort Smith with two five-person National Guard teams supporting each area.

In total, Capt. Pang says there are 22 national guard members across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

“The goal of the Arkansas National Guard is to be always ready and always there," Capt. Pang said. "So, we just deployed a larger package this time because Arkansas State Police requested more assistance because the inclement weather is over a much larger swath. A little more dangerous than the  inches of snow we had last week."

Capt. Pang said during last week's snow event, six crews were spread across our area. He says that number has roughly tripled this time.

"Each winter weather support team consists of a 5-person team, including one NCO and four Guardsmen, and a Humvee with communications equipment. They will operate around the clock until no longer needed. Each team will travel ASP-designated roads to assist motorists and help motorists to safety. Teams are not authorized to recover privately owned or commercial vehicles. If the need arises, teams are permitted to recover first responder emergency vehicles to a safe area if they are able to do so," the statement said.

A batch of freezing drizzle produced a glaze of ice early Monday morning. A heavier batch of freezing rain and sleet is expected to move east out of Oklahoma Monday morning through the afternoon. Click here for live updates and up-to-date forecasts in your area.

Click here for more information on traffic updates. 

5NEWS will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

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