It has been a spring to remember – terrible memories for disaster survivors.

Texans on Mission wrapped up responses to wildfires in the Panhandle March 28. On April 10, a string of springtime storms began striking across the state.

“We have responded to 11 declared disasters already this year,” said Rupert Robbins, associate director of TXM Disaster Relief. “In all of last year, we responded to 20. The year before, it was a total of 14.”

After Robbins made that comment, another storm struck Tyler and other communities in East Texas. Robbins said TXM is still evaluating the needs related to that most recent event.

“We typically only stand up an Incident Management Team when we pull in teams from other parts of the state to coordinate multiple teams,” Robbins said. “In May this year, TXM had four IMT units deployed simultaneously.”

While spring is always a busy time for storms, it is unusual to have multiple large deployments at the same time.

“It has been a significant challenge for our volunteers, but they have responded with the highest possible level of commitment, stamina and persistence,” Robbins said. “It is just inspiring to watch the gratification these men and women enjoy as they work so diligently.

“Their work is often both physical and spiritual. When physical destruction is everywhere, it’s still the people we encounter who are our top priority,” Robbins continued. “We try to be Jesus to them in both word and deed.”

Here are this year’s spring primary deployments to this point:

  • April 10 – Tornado and flooding in Port Arthur and Kirbyville.
  • May 2 – Widespread flooding along the Trinity, East San Jacinto and West San Jacinto rivers.
  • May 2 – Rising Star tornado and flooding in West Texas, including the Hawley area. 
  • May 9 – Tornado in San Marcos and Canyon Lake area and neighboring communities. 
  • May 16 – Straight-line winds (at Category 3 hurricane strength) in northwest Houston.
  • May 22 – Extensive tornado damage in Temple.
  • May 25 – Tornado tore through Valley View, north of Dallas.
  • May 28 – Significant straight-line winds affected a large urban portion of Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.
  • May 28 – Tornado tore through Levelland.

“Just reviewing this list may leave the impression this was just nine responses,” Robbins said. “But most of these storms and floods left damage across wide areas, sometimes stretching hundreds of square miles.

“We have deployed hundreds of volunteers into the affected areas,” he continued. “We have had out-of-state Disaster Relief units who have and are planning to come assist us.”

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units from Arkansas, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama and the SB Convention of Texas have been involved.