Area military bases were shutting down to all but mission-essential personnel Tuesday as the effects of Hurricane Sally intensified across the region ahead of the storm’s landfall. A hurricane warning includes Northwest Florida to Navarre, at the very edge of Eglin Air Force Base and encompassing Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Also affected by the storm, among other bases, are Naval Air Station Pensacola, Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, and Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City.
All of those installations were using their social media channels Tuesday to announce their status to military and civilian personnel and to the surrounding communities as Sally churned slowly through the Gulf of Mexico.
At Eglin, commander Brig. Gen Scott Cain released all non-mission-critical personnel from the base on Tuesday, with the base set to be open Wednesday only to mission-critical personnel. The base hospital, security forces and other emergency services remained open, as did dining and lodging facilities.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Cain was indicating that unless personnel are otherwise notified, normal operations are set to resume Thursday.
None of Eglin’s aircraft had been evacuated in advance of the storm, but were in hangars at the base, according to spokeswoman Ilka Cole.
At Hurlburt Field, non-mission-essential personnel were authorized for early release as the installation shut down at 1 p.m. The base will be open only to mission-essential personnel until further notice, according to an announcement from commander Col. Jocelyn Schermerhornr.
A little over an hour east from Eglin, Tyndall was closed to all but mission-essential personnel Tuesday, and base personnel were being urged not to travel outside the area.
Meanwhile, at NAS Whiting Field, some installation facilities were closed Tuesday, and some of the recreation and similar facilities were set to be closed through Wednesday.
NAS Pensacola has been at a mission-essential personnel posture since Monday, with base personnel being advised to continue to monitor local news and the installation’s Facebook page and Twitter account for updates.
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