What to expect in Charleston when Hurricane Michael turns into a tropical storm

What to expect in Charleston when Hurricane Michael turns into a tropical storm

Hurricane Michael coverage: 2nd death reported as monster storm makes landfall

WASHINGTON – Tyndall Air Force Base sustained catastrophic damage as Hurricane Michael struck the Florida installation head on, destroying buildings and potentially leaving the post vacant for weeks, Air Force officials said Thursday.

The Category 4 storm, the strongest to ever hit the Florida Panhandle, tore roofing from aircraft hangars and mangled buildings at Tyndall, located just outside Panama City, Fla., according to Air Force officials who reported widespread catastrophic damage primarily from winds that exceeded 150 mph.

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla (WKRG) Hurricane Michael will soon make landfall somewhere along the Florida panhandle. So how bad is it? Well, a Waffle House in the Panama City, Florida area is actually closed! That's a rare sight. If you're familiar with the Waffle House Index, you know it means the storm needs to be taken seriously.

Tyndall AFB hit hard by Hurricane Michael as the storm slams into the Floridas Panhandle

Hurricane Michael, downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday as it raced into the Carolinas, was blamed for at least two deaths after it left a trail of devastation across north Florida and Georgia. Other military installations in its path seemed to have been spared major devastation, according to several defense officials.

Waffle House restaurants keep doors open 24-7 and are known to stay open even through natural disasters. Pat Warner with Waffle House told USA Today. 18 locations are closed as of Wednesday morning along the panhandle from Panama City to Destin. They plan to reopen as soon as the storm passes.

Michael demolishes houses in Floridas Panhandle, and more destruction is emerging

Team Tyndall, our base took a beating … by now you already know that Tyndall Air Force Base requires extensive cleanup and repairs, Col. Brian Laidlaw, the 325th Fighter Wings commander, said in a message posted Thursday evening to the installations Facebook page. I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety. At this time I cant tell you how long that will take, but Im on it. I know this is important to you.

“The time to evacuate has come and gone … SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Twitter. National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen commented on the storm, saying “We are in new territory. The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle.”

An aerial assessment revealed that all base houses sustained significant roof and siding damage. Some houses sustained more significant structural failures and some dorms were severely damaged, according to a separate Tyndall Facebook post.

Residents who hadnt evacuated by this morning were forced to shelter in place as roadways quickly became impossible to travel. The storm could bring a foot of rainfall and a storm of 14 feet.

The flight line is devastated, the message said. Every building has severe damage. Many buildings are a complete loss.

Videos show marinas and beachside properties slammed by waves and battered by winds of up to 150 mph. Michael, a category 4, is the most severe storm on record to hit the Panhandle.

Other areas that sustained severe or catastrophic damage include Tyndall Elementary School; the BX and commissary; the two shoppettes; the drone runway; and the Tyndall marina, which was completely destroyed, missing all structures and docks.

Trees and power lines block every road, the message said. At this time, power and basic utilities remain out.

Meteorologists first got a sense something big could be happening by watching how Michael's eye changed shape. Early Tuesday, it was oddly shaped and ragged. Later in the morning it started to get better organized, and by Tuesday night real-time satellite imagery was showing the eye getting stronger and scarier by the minute.

As of Thursday, no injuries were reported on the base, which was under a mandatory evacuation order since Tuesday. All of the operational aircraft assigned to Tyndall were evacuated ahead of the storm to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Carswell Field in Texas and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Another factor: Its pressure, the measurement meteorologists use to gauge a hurricane's strength. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. Before landfall, Michael's pressure fell so low it looked like the winds were sure to pick up fast, said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for weathermodels.com.

DeKalb Schools monitoring as Hurricane Michael nears landfall

At this point, Tyndall residents and evacuated personnel should remain at their safe location, Laidlaw wrote in an earlier Facebook message. We are actively developing plans to reunite families and plan to provide safe passage back to base housing.

Hurricane Michael was barely a hurricane Tuesday morning, with winds of 90 mph. A little over a day later, it had transformed into a monster. When it made landfall Wednesday afternoon, it was blowing at 155 mph. That's a 72 percent increase in wind speed in less than 33 hours.

Meanwhile, the Florida National Guard began moving into impacted areas for rescue and clearance operations. Florida Gov. Rick Scott activated 2,500 National Guard troops ahead of the storm. In Georgia, 1,500 National Guard troops were activated to aid in response efforts.

Other military installations in the area were returning to normal operations or expecting to do so, while officials at bases in North Carolina continued to watch the storms path.

Hurricanes have something called a potential intensity. That's how strong a storm can get if all other factors are aligned, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate and hurricane expert Jim Kossin said. Michael had nothing holding it back.

Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, both near Valparaiso, Fla., appeared to avoid the worst of the storm. Eglin officials said Wednesday that the base will remain in limited operations Thursday as it recovers and restores essential services. All other civilian and military personnel were to return to their normal work schedules Friday. Hurlburt officials said the field would be on limited operating status Thursday, and they anticipate normal operations to resume Friday.

Pets are checked in, as people seek safety in a shelter as Hurricane Michael approaches on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. – Hurricane Michael closed in on Floridas Gulf Coast on Wednesday as an “extremely dangerous” category four storm packing powerful winds and a huge sea surge, US forecasters said. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm, which local forecasters are calling an “unprecedented” weather event for the area, is expected to slam ashore later in the day with “life-threatening” storm surges.

Video: Hurricane Michael: 12 pm Wednesday update

Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, Ga., was closed Thursday except for mission-essential personnel. The base was expected to reopen Friday morning.

In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michaels wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)

Col. Jennifer Short, the commander of the Moody-based 23rd Wing said in a statement that some recovery operations were underway Thursday but did not indicate the base received any extensive damage. All of the bases aircraft were evacuated ahead of the storm.

In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michaels wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)

The difference between a hurricane watch and hurricane warning

Army recruits and trainees stationed at Fort Bennings Maneuver Center of Excellence in Georgia resumed operations Thursday.

Training at the Armys Fort Jackson in South Carolina was suspended Thursday. Officials provided personnel assigned to the post liberal leave and delayed Friday graduation for recruits completing basic training.

In this image released by the US Coast Guard (USCG), Coast Guard crew members aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane fly over damaged homes near Apalachicola, Florida, on October 11, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. – Residents of the Florida Panhandle woke to scenes of devastation Thursday after Michael tore a path through the coastal region as a powerful hurricane that killed at least two people.

Naval Support Activity Panama City said the base just west of Panama City sustained severe damage, Navy officials said,  and will remain closed until further notice. Officials were on post Thursday conducting initial damage assessments.

We are keeping a close eye on #HurricaneMichael and its potential impact to the region. If a decision is made to close or delay school, we will notify you via social media, our website, and School Messenger. pic.twitter.com/EYW2cnbdM2

The Navy warned those who evacuated the base not to return to the area until they were informed it was safe to do so. There are reports of widespread power outages and cell phone service disruptions in the area around the base, a Navy official said. They did not provide an estimate for when power would be restored or when the base might reopen.

District officials have been in touch with the National Weather Service, which has declared Michael a “dangerous” storm that was expected to still be at hurricane strength when it enters Georgia.

Hurricane Michael leaves 1 dead as it moves over land

Officials at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina reported late Thursday afternoon that the storm had passed the base. They reported little damage. Personnel were to report for duty Friday, officials said on Facebook.

DeKalb County School District officials say they are watching weather forecasts closely as Hurricane Michael closes in on the Florida Panhandle coast.

The Armys Fort Bragg in North Carolina was back to normal operations Thursday, but officials were monitoring the storms progress, expecting heavy wind and rain.

Hurricane Michael slams into Florida as strong Category 4 storm

Officials at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island canceled Family Day activities Thursday. Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough said the recruit depot received heavy winds and there were widespread power outages in the area Thursday, but Parris Island did not sustain severe damage. Graduations were expected to be held Friday.

The Marines Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, N.C., released most non-essential personnel early Thursday. Normal operations will resume Friday, officials said in a statement.

The Department of Veterans Affairs closed 21 clinics in Florida, Georgia and Alabama on Wednesday before Hurricane Michael hit. Some reopened at noon Thursday, but most were expected to remain closed until at least Friday.

VA officials said the clinic in Marianna, Fla., would be closed until damage could be assessed after the eye of the hurricane hit Wednesday.

The two VA hospitals in Augusta, Ga., canceled all appointments Thursday, said Jason Tudor, a VA public affairs official.

We regret the inconvenience this may cause some of our long-distance travelers, but we will work with you to reschedule, Tudor said in a message to veterans. Do please take care of your families, take care of yourselves and be careful on the roads.

Video: Hurricane Michael now a Category 4 near Panama City Beach

The VA medical center in Dublin, Ga., also in the path of the storm, was open Thursday but was offering limited services while officials evaluated damage.

Video: Hurricane Michael now a Category 4 near Panama City Beach

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations UH-60 Black Hawk flight crew conduct a flyover of the Florida panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael as the storm left a swath of destruction across the area near Panama City, Florida, October 11, 2018. GLENN FAWCETT/U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION PHOTO

Video: Louisiana Fire Marshal addresses Hurricane Michael deployment

Jason's vehicle took a nasty beating near Tyndall AFB (east of Panama City Beach) as the eyewall of Major Hurricane Michael came ashore. This is why you don't shelter in a vehicle during a tornado or major hurricane. pic.twitter.com/fTBUaKOzWu

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