Ohioans helping Floridians as Hurricane Michael approaches panhandle

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Combined ShapeCaption
Fighter aircraft from Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Bases flee to Dayton before Hurricane Michael strikes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

With Hurricane Michael heading toward the Florida panhandle and the gulf states, Ohioans are already assisting people who could be affected by the storm.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base took in aircraft from Tyndall Air Force Base and Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. Although Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall Wednesday, officials at Wright-Patt were still communicating with other bases Tuesday afternoon about relocating more aircraft.

The base received six F-35 aircraft, six F-15 and 10 F-16 from Elgin and was expecting around 30 F-22 from Tyndall, Wright-Patt spokeswoman Marie Vanover said.

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“We will have these air craft here for several days, until the storm gets out of the area down there near the southern bases,” said Dave Egner, director of special operations for the 88th Air Base Wing’s support squadron.

Hurricane Michael is a category 2 storm with winds expected up to 110 miles per hour. By the time it reaches the Florida panhandle it is expected to become a category 3 hurricane, fueled by warm gulf waters which sit in the mid to upper 80s.

The hurricane will have no direct impact on the Miami Valley. But, it could push some moisture into the Dayton area today, said Storm Center 7 meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.

“This will increase the chance for a few showers or storms late day into the evening,” Vrydaghs said. “This moisture will also meet up with a cold front bringing in a line of showers and storms Monday night. As the front passes it will push Michael toward the east coast and off shore by the weekend.”

Mandatory evacuations have been issued to at least 16 Florida counties, sparking flight cancellations at Florida airports.

Flights through major hub Atlanta, the largest airport in the nation, could also be affected as the remnants of the storm pass through Georgia mid-week. Flights to Panama City, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Tallahassee and Mobile, Alabama, are likely to be heavily impacted as Michael approaches.

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American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest have all cancelled flights flying into the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport will cease all operations beginning at midnight today.

Members of an Ohio Task Force 1 team were deployed to Florida from Kettering around 8 a.m. Tuesday. The 16-member team was heading to Elgin Air Force Base near Valparaiso, Fla. and was planning to get there before the storm arrived.

Ohio Task Force 1 is capable of conducting continuous 24-hour water rescues, according to a post on the team’s Facebook page.

Joshua Johnson of Ohio Task Force 1 said that while the trip will be strenuous it will be worth it to make a difference.

“It is humbling at the same time,” he said. “We are there to do some good and put our training to use.”

The team doesn’t know how long they will be down in Florida assisting with the fallout from the storm. But, they’ve headed down there prepared as Johnson said the two most important things team members can do for themselves is to stay hydrated and prepare mentally and emotionally.

“At times it can be overwhelming,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of stuff, especially with being in one place and another place the next minute.”


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