Forward Watch

Forward Watch, November 6

From expedient route clearance to sawyer work and flood mitigation–current operations display the breadth of TR’s capabilities.

Hurricane Zeta 

Situation Report

When Hurricane Zeta came ashore on October 24, one of the communities hit hardest was Citronelle, Alabama. Zeta’s 110 mph winds brought down trees and powerlines that obstructed practically every road into and out of this small town 40 miles north of Mobile. 

In an interview for Good Day Alabama, Mayor of Citronelle Jason Stringer said, “We’re bracing for several days without power and trying to clear our roads so that emergency services have the capability to get to homes and help people that need it.”

How Team Rubicon is Responding

Team Rubicon responded to a request from Citronelle’s Chief of Police to perform expedient route clearance on the town’s obstructed roadways.

On October 30, Greyshirts assisting Hurricane Sally survivors in nearby Robertsdale, AL received orders to immediately help with the situation in Citronelle. A sawyer strike team was dispatched, and they successfully removed fallen trees from several main intersections. 

Their work played a crucial role in giving first responders and municipal employees access to the most severely damaged parts of this community.     

A Greyshirt performing route clearance in Citronelle, AL

California Wildfire

Situation Report

The August Complex Fire began as 38 separate fires started by a series of lightning strikes on August 17. These fires merged and have since burned over 1.6 million acres across multiple counties in Northern California. It is the largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.

Cal Fire has achieved 93% containment of the blaze and no longer considers it a major concern.

The potential for severe erosion caused by the massive fire means that communities living in the mountainous region where the fire burned now face the threat of floods and mudslides in the upcoming rainy season. 

How Team Rubicon is Responding

Team Rubicon is coordinating with Trinity County and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to assist the people of Weaverville, CA.

Weaverville is a remote mountain town with a population of roughly 3,600 residents that sustained substantial structure damage from the fire and saw the surrounding landscape scorched.

State and county officials have requested that Team Rubicon help prevent any hazardous runoff from entering the water supply in advance of expected rain.

Greyshirts are being deployed to the community to provide flood mitigation and debris removal.

Midwest Derecho

Situation Report

On August 10, a powerful straight-line wind, or derecho, moved across the Midwest, spawning an outbreak or tornados and wreaking havoc from Iowa all the way to northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Windspeeds are thought to have reached 140 mph–comparable to a Category 4 hurricane.

This severe weather event is estimated to have caused $7.5 billion in damages, making it the second most costly disaster of 2020 behind Hurricane Laura.

In many midwestern towns, cleanup is ongoing.

How Team Rubicon is Responding

In the days following the derecho, Team Rubicon deployed to Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids, Iowa to perform sawyer work and debris removal. Greyshirts on these operations removed over 150,000 cubic feet of wreckage from residents’ property.

Cedar Rapids is a community with an especially high social vulnerability index. Many of the people affected by the storm were immigrants and refugees living in high-density, low-cost housing. These residents have virtually no familial support in the area, so Team Rubicon’s services were crucial to getting them back on their feet.

Now, Team Rubicon is sending Greyshirts back to Cedar Rapids to complete the cleanup effort. They will follow up with residents that put in work orders during the initial operation and will once again offer sawyer and debris removal services.