Tyndall AFB: 'widespread catastrophic damage' after hurricane's direct hit

Elizabeth Howe
October 11, 2018 - 7:36 am

Photo courtesy of USA Today

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Recovery teams at Tyndall Air Force Base are on the ground Thursday, assessing the damage after it took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael.   Rescue, fire and security crews are reporting what they call "widespread catastrophic damage" at the base with every home and structure on the base suffering roof damage.  The category 4 storm was the strongest storm to hit Florida in years.  There are no reported injuries.  Personnel and family were evacuated days ago, but there is no word when they may be let back on base.

Videos of Tyndall show devastation to houses and outbuildings. Planes are flipped over like toys. Trees are ripped of leaves and snapped in half.  Huge sailboats are strewn across the sand, far from the water.

Social media is their primary form of communication with staff.  "At this point, Tyndall residents and evacuated personnel should remain at their safe location," Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, reported via Facebook.

Preparations and evacuations started earlier this week, removing all of the 600 military families from harm's way. But the base announced that these evacuation orders will remain in effect indefinitely as the installation works to recover.

Wind measurements on Tyndall recorded wind gusts of up to 130 miles per hour before Michael took out the equipment. What do 130 mile per hour wind gusts look like? Probably a little something like this.

And while Tyndall took on a direct strike, the rest of the panhandle didn't fare so well either. More than 331,000 homes and businesses are without power, 375,000 individuals have evacuated and damage was sustained as far as 50 miles inland.

Nearby installations such as Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field remain on limited operational status.

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