PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- The commander of Tyndall Air Force Base says the "base took a beating" from Hurricane Michael and will require "extensive cleanup and repairs."
Col. Brian Laidlaw told the 3,600 airmen stationed at the base just east of Panama City that he won't ask them or their families to return until their safety is guaranteed. The base was evacuated in advance of the Category 4 storm that struck the Gulf Coast on Wednesday afternoon with 155 mph winds and a strong storm surge.
Laidlaw called the damage "catastrophic." Videos of the damaged base show roofs ripped off hangars and a fighter jet on display toppled onto the ground.
In his letter posted on the base's website, Laidlaw says crews need to clear trees from roads, repair power lines and "assess the structural integrity of our buildings" before anyone returns.
Tyndall Air Force Base suffered extreme damage from Hurricane #Michael as it came ashore. Nearly every structure on base suffered roofing damage according to the base commander. #flwx #tropics pic.twitter.com/9WeXTwMSu4
— Zach Covey (@ZachWPDE) October 11, 2018