1. Hurricane

MacDill moves out aerial tanker fleet ahead of Hurricane Dorian

The aircraft are being sent to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas as a precaution with high winds projected during the storm
KC-135 Stratotankers will be evacuated from MacDill Air Force Case to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas ahead of Hurricane Dorian. [Times]
Published Aug. 29
Updated Aug. 29

TAMPA — KC-135 Stratotankers with the Air Force’s 6th Air Mobility Wing are being flown away from MacDill Air Force Base to remove them from the threat of damage from Hurricane Dorian.

RELATED STORY: Hurricane Dorian projected to become a major hurricane as it churns toward Florida

The aircraft are being sent to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas as a precaution, with high winds projected during the storm, according to a news release from MacDill. The tankers will return to Tampa when conditions return to normal.

RELATED STORY: Tyndall Air Force base finds new mission with the billions to be spent repairing hurricane damage

“The safety of our service members, families, and aircraft are paramount,” Col. Stephen Snelson, 6th Air Mobility Wing Commander, said in the release.

The wing has 24 of the Stratotankers, a four-engine jet made by Boeing from 1957-1964 to refuel other aircraft in midair. Approximately 16 to 18 are scheduled to leave for Kansas.

At a Thursday press conference, Snelson said experts from MacDill recently visited the Tyndall Air Force Base which was damaged by Hurricane Michael about 10 months ago. Many lessons on preparation strategies were learned, he added.

RELATED STORY: Reconnaissance jets moved to MacDill from base in Nebraska as snowmelt floods Midwest

On Wednesday, Snelson placed the base on HURCON 5 status, meaning destructive winds were possible within 96 hours.

As of Thursday morning, no personnel evacuation was expected but base leaders are in communication with Hillsborough County emergency management officials.

“Prepare now,” Snelson advised. “Don’t wait.”

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind


  1. Tropical Storm Jerry is expected to become reach hurricane status on Friday. National Hurricane Center
    Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane status on Friday.
  2. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
    Nearly a year after the storm, 18,000 claims are still open.
  3. The tropical outlook on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    The depression is expected to become Tropical Storm Jerry by early Wednesday, then strengthen to a hurricane by the weekend.
  4. Hurricane Humberto's projected path as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    It could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
  5. The forecast track for Hurricane Humberto, as of 5 a.m. Monday. National Hurricane Center
    The Category 1 hurricane is moving away from the southeastern United States and expected to approach Bermuda by Wednesday night.
  6. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  7. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.
  8. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    A north-northwest turn is expected by Sunday, just as the storm is projected to become a hurricane.
  9. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    Humberto’s wind speeds reached 40 mph on Saturday as it’s expected to turn north-northwest.
  10. Wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael. News Service of Florida
    Entire school systems are still recovering from long-standing damage and dealing with the disruptive aftermath of the storm.