Hurricane Michael blazed through the Florida Panhandle with 155 mph last week. These winds and the storm with it that reached nearly 14 feet have been reported of killing at least 18 people in the four states, destroying houses, and most importantly, taking down power lines.
Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida, received a direct hit and suffered heavy damage. “The flight line is destroyed. Every building is severely damaged. Many buildings are a loss,” according to the base’s most recent storm damage update.
Most particular concerns were the base’s F-22 Raptor aircraft, one of the most sophisticated fighter jets in the Air Force’s arsenal. The stealth fighters cost $377 million apiece (including research and development costs), and the Air Force has 183 of them in its collection. Tyndall is home to 55 F-22s which were present there. The reports in the New York Times stated that 33 of the Raptors were sent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. According to the Washington Examiner 17, many of the highly valuable aircraft which remained in the path of the storm have been destroyed. Another spokesperson for the Air Force though declined to give any further information about damaged aircraft at Tyndall but said that crews are still assessing the magnitude of the damage.
The military assembled an adaptation roadmap in 2014, explaining how they plan to deal with climate change. Plans include raising coastal infrastructure, protecting vulnerable supply chains in various departments, and increasing disaster training.
However, as Hurricane Michael showed the impact, there’s a vast gulf between acknowledging climate change and adequately preparing for disaster management. Either there was a plan in place to deal with an unexpected storm at Tyndall, and it wasn’t followed, or there wasn’t any, and we already see the consequences. It’s better if we don’t repeat the same mistake and make ourselves more secure.
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