Disaster Responders Stage in Florida Ahead of Hurricane Ian

Julie H. Case

Armed with heavy equipment and chainsaws, volunteers prepare to provide route clearance and emergency relief after major hurricane makes landfall.

With Hurricane Ian expected to make landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast late Tuesday evening, September 27, as a major Category 3 Hurricane, Team Rubicon has begun staging disaster response teams in northern Florida. 

When Hurricane Ian comes ashore it is expected to produce high winds, heavy rainfall, and flash flooding. According to the National Hurricane Center, a combination of high tide and hurricane-produced storm surge will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded, with water heights at peak surge reaching 8 to 12 feet above ground from Middle of Longboat Key to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor, and 5 to 8 feet from Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee and from the Anclote River to the Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa Bay. 

A route clearance team stages in advance of Hurricane Ian. Photo by Adam Garner.

If it makes landfall as a Category 3 Hurricane, Ian will bring devastating winds, with speeds of 111 to 129 mph. Homes may incur damage and trees are likely to be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roadways. 

In preparation for such damage, Team Rubicon has staged two route clearance teams in Orlando and Tallahassee. Equipped with trucks, compact track loaders, a cache of chainsaws and more, the route clearance teams will move out immediately after landfall to clear trees and other debris from roadways. 

Team Rubicon has also staged multiple reconnaissance teams just outside the path of Hurricane Ian that will be ready to assess unmet needs after the storm. 

Once Hurricane Ian does make landfall and damage across the impacted region has been assessed, Team Rubicon will begin deploying Greyshirts to affected areas to assist homeowners with emergency home repairs such as roof tarping, flood and debris removal, and more. 

The route clearance and recon operations, and subsequent relief operations, will be Team Rubicon USA’s second hurricane response of 2022. Currently, Greyshirts are responding to Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, while Team Rubicon Canada Greyshirts are on the ground in Halifax assisting survivors of Hurricane Fiona there.

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