Responding to Winter Storm Ulmer & in Mozambique

Jill L. Ferguson

The National Weather Service called the flooding by last week’s Winter Storm Ulmer, a bomb cyclone, “historic” and they and the United States Geological Services provided a map of the almost two dozen states—from coast to coast—affected by the severe pressure drop that caused increased winds, severe blizzards, and record rains that clashed with ice jammed rivers and seasonable snowpack to create catastrophic flooding. In many cases even today the water is still rising, and the total amount of damage is unknown.

Once again, Team Rubicon is on the forefront responding to this natural disaster all across the country. D.J. Sprenger, Team Rubicon’s Senior Associate, Public Affairs, said TR is currently mobilizing for Winter Storm Ulmer in Fond du Lac and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin starting on March 20 and lasting at least 7 days, and in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 21. The Wisconsin part of the operation will include muck outs of flooded homes and buildings, debris management and removals and spontaneous volunteer management, meaning any locals who want to don a grey shirt and help Team Rubicon are welcome to be a part of the team. Sprenger said the flood waters in Wisconsin have started to recede, making this op possible, and that TR “is mobilizing and deploying up to 25 volunteers.”

The Sioux Falls work will involve 21 volunteers and is a flood mitigation operation that will involve building, filling and distributing sandbags (as flood levels are expected to peak between March 24 and March 26) and spontaneous volunteer management; the operation is scheduled to last for four days.




Team Rubicon is also monitoring Newaygo County, Michigan and Winnebago and Stephenson Counties in Illinois as well as western Iowa, northwestern Missouri and the entire state of Nebraska. Four tribal areas, 74 cities and 65 counties in Nebraska have issued declarations of emergency after last week’s storm. Within the next 72 hours, Team Rubicon will continue monitoring the situation and working to identify which areas were hardest hit and where Greyshirts need to be deployed to help impacted communities stabilize and recover.

In addition to Operation Winter Storm Ulmer, Team Rubicon has active sawyer and debris management operations (33 volunteers) in Kilgore, Texas, in response to the March 14 storms and strong straight-line winds that knocked out power and downed trees on roadways and in residential areas. Thirty-three TR volunteers have been working in this area since March 16, and the work will continue for 10 days total.

Chainsaw teams and other TR volunteers (19 Greyshirts in total) are also in Shiawassee and Genesee Counties in Michigan in response to four tornados that touched down there on the evening of March 14. This operation started on March 18 and will last for seven days.

And on March 20, a Team Rubicon recon team is headed to Mozambique to assess damage caused by Cyclone Idai, which CNN said, “could be the deadliest tropical cyclone to hit Africa.” The team will visit hospitals in Beira, where the Cyclone made landfall, and see if TR’s WHO Certified Emergency Medical Type 1 Mobile Unit is needed or if a WASH Team is (water, sanitation and hygiene) or what other possible ways TR can help in a country that is devastated, and where its President says more than 1,000 people have died.

Team Rubicon President and Chief Operating Officer Art delaCruz said, “Team Rubicon has spent an extraordinary amount of time preparing our volunteers to be able to perform missions effectively, safely, and efficiently when disasters strike. Today, and in the coming weeks, communities across the country will see the return that their investments in our organization will make in helping the survivors impacted by these disasters. I can’t thank them enough for believing in us and helping us prepare and respond.”

Please give to support Team Rubicon’s response to Winter Storm Ulmer, Cyclone Idai, or other communities affected by disaster.

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