MacDill's KC-135s head to Kansas ahead of Hurricane Dorian

MacDill Air Force base is evacuating over a dozen aircraft ahead of Hurricane Dorian's arrival.

"We are preparing for the worst case possible," said Col. Stephen Snelson.

Over the next two days, between sixteen and eighteen KC-135's, worth $40 million, will be flown to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

"Even though our hangars are rated for hurricane force winds, we are trying to get every piece of iron we can off of this ramp."

Ordinarily, the 136-foot planes are used for refueling other planes midair.

As contingency plans themselves, it made little sense to keep them in harm’s way.

Last year at Fort Tyndall during Hurricane Michael, not only was the base destroyed, but a number of F-22s were damaged.

"We have been applying some of those lessons here as well to make sure we don't make the same mistakes and that we protect not just our people, but all of our assets."

Once the planes have all made their two-to-three hour flight to Kansas, the staff at MacDill will turn to make sure service members are ready in case they are called to help first responders after the storm.

"As quickly as we can, as soon as that storm passes us by, we will be ready to open the base right back up, so we can start helping the community," said Col. Snelson.

As soon as the storm is over, the planes will be brought back to MacDill.

Hurricane Dorian preparations:

- Citrus County
- DeSoto County
- Hardee County
- Hernando County
- Highlands County
- Hillsborough County
- Manatee County
- Pasco County
- Pinellas County
- Polk County
- Sarasota County
- Sumter County