USAF Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, right, speaks with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, during their first in-person interaction outside the Berg-Liles Dining Facility at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Jan. 16, 2019. Just three days later, an EF-1 tornado hit the base. Air Force photo by A1C Solomon Cook.
A tornado with “estimated peak wind of 90 mph” struck Tyndall AFB, Fla., Saturday evening, just a few months after the base was nearly destroyed by a hurricane. No one was injured, but the high winds destroyed some of the new construction on base, officials said.
“The tornado moved a car, broke car windows, tore a portion of a new roof off of barracks, and flipped dumpsters and garbage cans on their sides,” according to a National Weather Service report. It also “caused some additional damage to a few structures” in addition to the barracks, 325th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Brian Laidlaw wrote in a Jan. 20 Facebook post.
The tornado’s path started and ended at Tyndall. The National Weather Service estimated it to be 0.81 miles long and 50 yards wide, but the damage is not expected to affect any of the base’s ongoing missions, Laidlaw wrote.
Emergency responders performed preliminary inspections of the buildings hit by the tornado, and damage assessments were slated to “continue through the weekend,” according to a Jan. 19 post on Tyndall’s Facebook page.
“We will continue to rebuild from the damage of Hurricane Michael and the additional damage caused by this weather event,” Laidlaw wrote. “Together, we are building a stronger Tyndall.”
The tornado’s arrival at the base came just three days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Tyndall to observe recovery and rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
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