SJAFB moves jets to avoid Hanna's path
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 4, 2008 1:55 PM
It was a busy morning on the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base flight line as crews began an evacuation of 4th Fighter Wing F-15Es and 916th Air Refueling Wing KC-135Rs.
The evacuation, in response to approaching Tropical Storm Hanna, will land more than 80 Strike Eagles and three Stratotankers at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, until the threat clears.
Each Strike Eagle is worth roughly $50 million.
Although Hanna is currently categorized as a tropical storm, some forecasters expect it to reach hurricane status before it reaches the Atlantic coastline Friday.
4th Fighter Wing officials are not taking any chances.
In addition to the evacuation of aircraft, they have initiated a hurricane watch for Seymour Johnson and declared HURCON 3, warning airmen and their families that wind gusts in excess of 50 knots are expected within 72 hours.
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So as each aircraft took flight this morning, those airmen passing through the gates were given a packet of information officials hope will help them weather the storm.
No formal evacuation of the base was ordered.
But a statement from the 4th was clear about the dangers a storm the magnitude of Hanna could pose.
"Regardless of where the storm lands, officials are advising base personnel to prepare for heavy rainfall, possible flooding, tornadoes and high winds," it reads. "Airmen and their families do not need to evacuate the local area, though they are being encouraged to seek a secure shelter, such as home or a dormitory, during the storm. Several streets and areas in Wayne County are known to flood and drivers should be cautious to avoid low-lying areas."
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