Team Rubicon was founded by two Marine Corps veterans who went to Haiti to help with relief efforts after the devastating 2010 earthquake. More than a decade later, Team Rubicon continues coordinating disaster relief efforts led by military veteran volunteers, both internationally and domestically. 

The organization focuses on underserved and vulnerable communities, has deployed to over 440 disasters globally, and boasts 135,000 registered disaster response volunteers. Teams on the ground focus on getting people back into their homes by mucking out flooded homes, removing downed trees, tarping roofs, and more.

Coordinating Relief

When coordinating volunteer efforts, the Team Rubicon staff looks at three factors:

  • Where the weather has caused or will cause damage
  • The location of the vulnerable population, which is primarily based on socio-economic data
  • The location of unmet need, which is determined by the response of emergency managers and volunteers during past disasters

“Weather is the most dynamic piece in all of this; it’s going to be shifting,” said Lauren Vatier, Senior Associate of Operational Planning at Team Rubicon.

Access to reliable weather data is critical for Team Rubicon’s operations. It needs to quickly identify areas impacted by severe weather to get teams deployed to help communities in need as soon as possible. Monitoring ongoing weather conditions is also necessary to ensure the safety of volunteers on the ground.

Team Rubicon needs a meteorologist on staff. In the organization’s early years, it relied on multiple weather sources to create forecasts when planning response efforts.

Baron has delivered a streamlined weather solution to Team Rubicon. High-quality, up-to-the-minute weather data is now visible throughout the organization, enabling more effective monitoring and forecasting of weather conditions. Utilizing Baron weather data, the staff can access in-depth data for severe events, including hurricanes and tornados.

Lauren, who doesn’t have a meteorologist background, says Baron delivers actionable current and forecast data when they need it most.

“Before, I would look at NOAA and NWS, read their assessments, and try to understand what they were saying by Googling.Now I can go in and say, ‘Ok, I understand this.’ I can see what it looks like, be in more control, and make my analysis.”

-- Laura Vatier Senior Associate of Operational Planning at Team Rubicon

Throughout Team Rubicon’s time as a Baron customer, Baron has provided multiple training opportunities, including sending staff to the Team Rubicon Leadership Conference, to ensure the organization can capitalize on the features and functionality of Baron tools. Baron offers around-the-clock weather support from a staff of degreed meteorologists, a service Team Rubicon often takes advantage of before a significant event. 2018 Baron sent a meteorologist to Team Rubicon’s National Operations Center to help analyze the weather and plan relief efforts as Hurricane Florence bore down on the Carolinas.

“Having that deeper analysis is helpful because it can help give perspective and help us make decisions further in advance,” said Vatier.

The staff at Team Rubicon will start tracking and monitoring when a storm is forming in the Atlantic. When they see it is a threat to land, they ramp up volunteer efforts and do daily briefings with Baron data as their forecasting guide. Lauren says they have a set of go-to Baron products. Lauren says they have a bunch of go-to products within Baron Threat Net to get a better understanding of the impact of a severe weather event that, includes:

  • Tropical layers
  • Precipitation and accumulation
  • Radar
  • Wind speeds

“In a hurricane, we want to pre-position our assets, so we need to determine where we think the disaster will strike,” Vatier said. “If it’s going to be a wind event, we’ll see more tree damage and use chainsaws to remove vegetative debris. We’re going to use a different cache and specifically skilled volunteers. If it’s a more water-based event, we will do more muck-outs. Knowing those threats and where they will hit will drive much of our decision-making.”

A Hurricane Season Unlike any Other

2020 was the most active hurricane season, with 30 named storms, including 13 hurricanes. Baron gave Team Rubicon an easily accessible tool to pinpoint impacted areas and proactively plan relief efforts throughout the year.

“Last year (2020), hurricane season started bright and early, and it was just one after another. It felt like a never-ending series of hurricane monitoring,” Vatier claimed.

Two Hurricanes, Laura and Delta, made landfall 13 miles apart in Louisiana.

Laura was a Category 4 storm when it reached land on August 27th. It brought wind speeds as high as 150mph, storm surges that got 15 feet, and up to 10 inches of rain. The storm knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes, caused $19 billion of damage, and claimed 26 lives.

Display of Baron data shows Hurricane Laura making landfall
A display of Baron data shows Hurricane Laura as it makes landfall in Louisiana.

As Laura moved closer to land, Baron’s data helped Team Rubicon realize they needed to shift their response from a flooding event to a wind event. They positioned a road clearance team in Lafayette, LA, located just outside the forecasted storm surge area and safe from dangerous winds.

Team Rubicon volunteer works on a damaged home in Lousiana
A Team Rubicon volunteer works on a damaged home in Lousiana.

Hurricane Laura made landfall overnight. The first team was quickly deployed to the hard-hit city of Lake Charles, clearing debris and downing trees to ensure road access to critical infrastructure. This was done in conjunction with local authorities. The road clearance team was followed by waves of volunteers who were able to help hundreds of homeowners clear trees and debris, tarp roofs, and some muck-outs.

In early October, Hurricane Delta was moving through the Gulf and projected to follow a strikingly similar path to Hurricane Laura. There were still approximately 100 Team Rubicon volunteers on the ground helping homeowners. Monitoring weather conditions was now crucial for planning an effective response and for the safety of those already deployed.

“Our volunteers were now at risk of getting hit by this new hurricane,” said Lauren. “We had to monitor not only for our volunteers but also for homeowners who would be affected again.”

Team Rubicon volunteers prioritized tarping roofs before Hurricane Delta arrived and evacuated to Houston. When the most dangerous part had passed, they returned to the Lake Charles area.

The Hurricane Laura relief efforts were extended to help homeowners impacted by Hurricane Delta. Crews stayed on the ground until November 30th. Team Rubicon volunteers helped work on 599 homes, cleared 12 roads, and helped more than 1200 people in the wake of the two hurricanes.

During a hectic hurricane season or weather-related disaster, Lauren says planning large-scale relief efforts would be much more difficult without Baron's data.

“I’d be more at the mercy of less reliable information, which puts much more guesswork into what I’m trying to predict or forecast. That is going to slow down our teams. If we position them slightly off, it might take days to determine the best location.”

Team Rubicon volunteer help during many types of severe weather events.
Team Rubicon volunteer help during many types of severe weather events.

Team Rubicon Summary

Challenges:     Safely deploy teams of volunteers before and after devasting natural disasters by quickly locating the area of impact along with a safe location for staging.

Solution:    Implementation of a web-based solution that provides high-quality Baron weather data. Baron delivers actionable weather intelligence, including advanced forecasts, location-specific data, and interpreted weather guidance.


  • Quickly pinpoint areas impacted or expected to be impacted by a severe weather event.
  • Weather visibility throughout the entire Team Rubicon organization via the web platform or the companion mobile app for use in the field.
  • Safe deployment of teams and supplies on the ground at target locations before, during, and after the event.