Instead of being the focus of Hurricane Irene, Florida and Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base is playing a support role.
The airbase is home to NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters that routinely fly into the storms collecting data and observations.
MacDill’s 6th Air Mobility Wing also is preparing to welcome evacuated aircraft from coastal bases in the path of Hurricane Irene:
- McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
- Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.
- Dover Air Force Base, Del.
Tampa’s skies, over the next day or two, will be filled with the site of C-17 Globemasters, C-5 Glaxys and Navy E-6 Mercury.
The Defense Department is providing air and ground transportation experts and defense coordinating officers to work with state, local and other federal agencies, process mission assignments and coordinate DOD resources in support of FEMA, the lead federal agency.DOD facilities in and near Irene’s forecast path are taking actions to alert, prepare and secure for the storm, officials said.
The storm was in the northwest Bahamas this (Thursday) morning, National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said during a telephone briefing, moving over the Abaco Islands with sustained winds of 115 mph.
“The next area of concern as [Irene] exits the Bahamas is what the impact will be in North Carolina,” he said. “We have a hurricane watch up now for most of the North Carolina coast [and a] tropical storm watch through most of the South Carolina coast,” Read added.
The storm is expected to maintain major hurricane status — winds of at least 115 mph — as it approaches the coast of North Carolina the morning of Aug. 27, he said.
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Filed under: Air Force | Tagged: Department of Defense, Hurricane Irene, MacDill Air Force Base 6th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, military base evacuations, National Hurricane Center, NOAA Hurricane Hunters, postaday2011, Westover Joint Air Reserve Base |