Hurricane Michael Cost This Military Base About $5 Billion, Just One of 2018's Weather Disasters

Major hurricanes, devastating wildfires, a drought and a series of extreme storms ran up the count of billion-dollar U.S. climate and weather disasters.

As Hurricane Michael quickly gained strength over unusually warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, Tyndall Air Force Base began sending its stealth fighters to safer bases—all but the more than a dozen planes undergoing maintenance. Two days later, the base was being ripped apart by 155 mile-per-hour winds that left it littered with the twisted metal of torn-away rooftops and hangars.

The hurricane—one of at least a dozen climate and weather disasters in United States this year to top $1 billion in damage—left a wide trail of destruction through homes, businesses and farms from Florida to the Carolinas.

The military alone suffered several billion dollars in damage. During a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Dec. 12, Sen. Tim Kaine said the price tag for damage at Tyndall Air Force Base was about $5 billion, as he understood it. That added to earlier damage from Hurricane Florence: U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller estimated that rebuilding properly after Florence's damage to Camp Lejeune would cost about $3.6 billion.

"It's not just sea level rise," Kaine said. "There's all kinds of weather emergencies and challenges that all of the services are dealing with on the climate side."  

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