Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael tore away tree limbs and sent pieces of buildings flying Wednesday as it struck Panama City, Florida. (Oct. 10, 2018) Associated Press
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum suspended his campaign for governor Sunday to return to the city as it prepared for a battering by Hurricane Michael. In Orlando, Florida, on Monday night, Trump threw a couple jabs at the mayor while trying to give his endorsed candidate, Ron DeSantis, a boost.
Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Fla., took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael and sustained extensive damage as the most powerful hurricane on record to hit Floridas Panhandle walloped the area on Wednesday.
Political consultants and scientists called the exchange both unprecedented but predictable in a highly volatile political environment and the campaign season in full swing. Gillum and DeSantis are locked in a tight race in one of the most closely watched governors races this year.
The Category 4 storm left wide destruction in the state and at least two people dead and wasnt nearly finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia, now as a tropical storm, toward the Carolinas, that are still reeling from epic flooding by Hurricane Florence. As the tropical storm continued to weaken it was still menacing the Southeast with heavy rains, blustery winds and possible spinoff tornadoes.
Here are some details from installations affected by the storm (for more specific info and updates, check their pages on Facebook):
Michael hitting Southeast after bashing northern Florida
No injuries were reported at Tyndall, according to a post on the bases official Facebook page Wednesday evening.
(DeSantis) opponent runs an area and a city thats got among the worst statistics in the country and certainly in the state, said Trump. If his opponent gets elected, youll have Venezuela. Florida will become another Venezuela and thats not good.
Video: Power crews in Florida ahead of hurricane
The storm brought down trees and power lines. It removed roofs from buildings and caused significant structural damage, the post stated. The conditions of the runway is unknown at this time.
Michael demolishes houses in Floridas Panhandle, and more destruction is emerging
Social media users shared photos of what they said was a toppled static aircraft display at the base.
According to the New York Times, a hurricane center near the installation, which is located 12 miles east of Panama City, reported a 130-mile-per-hour wind gust before the facilitys measuring instrument eventually failed.
NHC said Michael will steadily weaken as it crosses the southeastern United States through Thursday night, becoming a tropical storm by Thursday morning. Michael is forecast to strengthen some Thursday night and Friday when it moves off the east coast of the United States and becomes a post-tropical cyclone Friday.
Base officials recommend anyone who evacuated make plans for extended time away from the base, and noted there is no estimate for when it will be safe for individuals to return.
Only a skeleton staff remained after the evacuation at Tyndall Air Force Base, situated on a peninsula just south of Panama City. The home of the 325th Fighter Wing and some 600 military families appeared squarely targeted for the worst of the storms fury, and leaders declared HURCON 1 status, ordering out all but essential personnel.
In coordination with Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt will remain on limited operating status on Thursday. Beginning at noon, mission essential and recovery personnel and facility managers may begin returning to base to assess damage and begin recovery operations, Col. Michael Conley, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, wrote Wednesday. All services on base will remain closed on Thursday, including the Medical Group, CDCs, fitness centers, AAFES facilities, the commissary and the Riptide DFAC.
Video: Panama City Beach waves become rough ahead of Hurricane Michael
An Eglin Air Force Base post on Facebook said that the base will continue limited operations on Thursday to conduct damage assessments and restoration of essential services. Personnel associated with recovery operations, including facility managers, may return to base at 9 a.m. Thursday, unless otherwise notified. Commanders and directors will notify additional personnel as needed to restore operations. The goal is to resume normal operations on Friday.
Video: Areas of Florida panhandle could be hit hard by Hurricane Michael
Tourists abandon Florida Panhandle beaches as Hurricane Michael nears
Administrative leave is authorized on Thursday and anyone at Eglin should not expect services, such as medical, CDC or the commissary to be operating.
Naval Air Station Pensacolas Facebook page said it was resuming normal operations on Thursday. Corry Station and Saufley Field had not posted new information on their social networks at the time of this posting.
An area within 150 miles of Gulfport, Miss., has been designated as the remote safe haven for personnel and their families who evacuated due to the hurricane. The purpose of the safe haven is to offer access to temporary quarters and Fleet and Family Support Centers at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, a news release said. The location places families out of harms way, but keeps the sailors close enough that they may return to help restore services, if necessary.
As the storm grew in strength far to the east, sparing Pensacola much of the weather, the Danows opened their three-bedroom home to Rabbi Yeshayahu and Rochel Tenenboim, co-directors of Chabad of the Emerald Coast, and their family who had to evacuate their own home Destin and another community member from Destin who needed a place to go, despite the fact that their kitchen hadnt even been set up yet.
FORECAST: Hurricane Michael now spinning into Georgia; Thursdays flash flood watch will include Richmond metro area
The governors of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina called up National Guard troops ahead of Hurricane Michael.
All public activities, including day and evening classes, are canceled for Thursday on the Charleston, South Carolina campus.
The Maneuver Center of Excellence is halting training and prepared to move trainees if necessary, according to their official Facebook page. DODEA schools are closed on Thursday, and some base facilities have different hours, according to the installations Facebook site.
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield will resume normal operations starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to a post on its Facebook page.
According to a video announcement by depot commander Brig. Gen. James F. Glynn shared on the Parris Island Facebook page, Thursdays Family Day activities scheduled ahead of Fridays graduation ceremonies have been canceled.
While graduation for recruits is set to proceed as planned, Parris Island officials indicated in another Facebook announcement that exact plans for the ceremonies are dependent upon weather.
"Tomorrows weather and the impact it has on the base will determine if the ceremony will be indoors at the All Weather Training Center or outdoors on the Parade Deck," officials stated.
The Associated Press, the Pensacola News Journal, the Island Packet, the New York Times and the Weather Channel contributed to this report.
The eye of Hurricane Michael, as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. NASA
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