Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas

Team Rubicon Volunteers Respond to May Tornadoes

Julie H. Case

Greyshirts have begun deploying on severe storm and tornado operations in Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, and Kentucky.

house damaged by May tornadoes in TX

When severe storms and tornadoes swept the U.S. in May, they left paths of damage from Texas to Iowa. In response, Team Rubicon has begun deploying volunteers, or Greyshirts, on five disaster response operations in four states. 

Veteran-led Volunteers Head to Iowa for May Tornadoes Response

On the afternoon of May 21, 2024, a line of severe storms swept across Iowa, spawning several tornadoes. Greenfield took a direct hit from a significant tornado that caused damage across the entire community. By the next day, Iowa Governor Reynolds had issued a State of Emergency declaration. 

On May 24, Team Rubicon began deploying the first of more than two dozen Greyshirts to Adair County, where, over the course of two weeks, they will perform chainsaw operations and conduct debris removal and roof tarping operations to assist local community members and homeowners.

Greyshirts Touchdown in Oklahoma

When a severe storm system hit on May 25 and 26, it spawned dozens of tornadoes, hail, flash flooding, and damaging winds across Texas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. It also brought an EF-3 tornado with maximum winds of 155 mph to Rogers County, OK. At one point, the tornado was more than 1 mile wide and left a damage path spanning 23 miles. 

A house damaged in the May tornadoes in Oklahoma.
A house damaged in the May tornadoes in Oklahoma.

In response to the May tornadoes, Team Rubicon has launched an operation in Rogers County. From May 31 through June 8 dozens of Greyshirts will perform debris management, roof tarping, chainsaw, and muck-out work to help restore the community. 

Disaster Response Volunteers Take on Texas Twisters

A severe storm on May 16 impacted the Greater Houston Area and surrounding counties. That storm was followed by additional rainfall in counties that were still recovering from major flooding events in April and two EF-1 tornadoes that impacted Waller and Cypress. In response, on May 24, Team Rubicon began deploying more than 30 Greyshirts to Harris County where they will spend a week performing chainsaw operations, debris removal, and roof tarping, to help locals return to their homes. 

Sawyers work at a Texas home damaged in the May tornadoes.
Greyshirt sawyers work at a Texas home damaged in the May tornadoes.

Team Rubicon has also begun standing up an operation in Cooke County, TX, in response to the severe storm system on May 25 and 26 that spawned hail, flash flooding, damaging winds, and dozens of tornadoes—including an EF-2 tornado that hit the town of Valley View and continued south toward the town of Sanger in Denton County. More than two dozen Greyshirts will be on the ground in Cooke County from May 31 to June 6, conducting muck-outs and roof tarping, and removing debris left by the tornadoes.

Greyshirts Return to the Bluegrass State

The severe storms of May 25 and 26 also spawned more than a dozen tornadoes in Kentucky, including an EF-1 that touched down on May 26 in Muhlenberg County, produced wind gusts of 110 miles per hour, and crossed 30 miles across the county. Also on May 26, an EF-3 tornado with 165 mph winds touched down in Lyon County, KY, and stayed on the ground for 36 miles, causing damage in Lyon, Caldwell, and Hopkins County. 

On June 2, Team Rubicon will stand up a response to the May tornadoes and storms in Kentucky—its 15th operation in the Bluegrass state since the beginning of 2022. Greyshirts deploying on the response will perform chainsaw operations, debris removal, and roof tarping in communities across Muhlenberg and Hopkins Counties.

Ford bronco in front of tornado damage.
Conducting recon after the tornadoes in Cooke County, TX.
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