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Before and after images of Tyndall Air Force Base, located just east of Panama City, Florida. Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, causing catastrophic damage to its hangars and buildings — and there are reports of damage to some of the Air Force's newest fighter planes.

Why it matters: Tyndall is one of the largest F-22 bases in the country. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters he's heard direct comparisons between Tyndall's destruction and the devastation sustained by Homestead Air Force Base by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 — which was ultimately decimated and turned into a reserve base.

The details: Lengyel told reporters at a briefing on Friday the western eye wall of the storm went over Tyndall, leaving all of the housing "uninhabitable." He said Michael was "a violent wind event ... more like a tornado than a hurricane."

"Roofs have been ripped off buildings, it's fundamentally an unusable airfield, there are maintenance facilities that have been ripped up, housing is ripped up, water doesn't work."
— Gen. Joseph Lengyel
Damage to Tyndall AFB's infrastructure, including fighter jet shelters (top center). Satellite images ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company; NOAA.

The impact: A QF-16 aerial target aircraft was "heavily damaged," according to Defense News, "with its front nose-cone sheared off, as well as a hangar with an F-22 inside and its roof largely missing... as many as ten F-22s may have been damaged by the storm."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: According to Defense News, "damage to the F-22s should be largely repairable, but repairs will be costly." Defense Secretary James Mattis has prioritized increasing F-22 readiness by 80% over the next year, which the publication cites as "a number well above the mission capability rates those aircraft now achieve."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

All of the airmen that were assigned to ride out the storm at the base are safe and accounted for, according to the Commander of Air Combat Command, Mike Holmes. However, he describes "significant and widespread damage to the base" and advises that it isn't safe to return.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - World

South Africa says it's being "punished" for detecting new COVID variant

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 22, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz - Pool/Getty Images)

South Africa said Saturday it's being "punished" for detecting the new Omicron coronavirus variant as more countries rush to enact travel bans and restrictions.

Driving the news: The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions from eight countries Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Countries in Europe and Asia have also implemented their own travel restrictions in response to Omicron.

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.