Tyndall Air Force Base could remain vacant for weeks after the Florida installation sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, suffering “widespread catastrophic damage” from the Category 4 storm’s 150 mph winds, Air Force officials said Thursday. “The flight line is devastated. Every building has severe damage. Many buildings are a complete loss,” according to a press release from the 325th Fighter Wing. “All base houses sustained significant roof and siding damage. Some houses sustained more significant structural failures,” it continued. Some dorms, however, appeared to survive intact.
Tyndall Elementary School, and the base exchange and commissary suffered severe damage; the Tyndall marina, drone runway and Air Force Civil Engineer Center labs sustained catastrophic damage. “The base remains closed. Trees and power lines block every road. At this time, power and basic utilities remain out,” the release said. As of Thursday, no injuries or fatalities were reported on the base.
In a separate message to Team Tyndall, Col. Brian Laidlaw, commander of the 325th, told personnel he didn’t know how long it would before they could safely return.
With the exception of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City, other military installations on the Florida Panhandle appeared to have dodged significant impacts. NSA Panama City suffered severe damage and will remain closed until further notice, reported Stars and Stripes. Both Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field are set to return to normal operations Friday. Naval Air Station Pensacola returned to normal operations Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Florida National Guard