FORT WORTH - As people evacuate the Texas coast, military aircraft are heading to North Texas for shelter.
More than 18 Navy planes from Corpus Christi have already landed at Alliance Airport as of Thursday afternoon. More planes are expected.
The Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth is considered the military’s safe zone for the region. It means during the threat of Hurricane Harvey, operations for some aircraft and personnel from South Texas have shifted to Fort Worth.
The evacuated aircraft began arriving early Thursday afternoon. Thirty-five T-45s from Naval Air Station Kingsville will temporarily relocate to the NAS Fort Worth base.
Aircraft from NAS Corpus Christi are also expected. Both bases received evacuation orders in wake of the hurricane that is strengthening and moving toward the South Texas installations.
It is unclear how many, but likely some non-mission essential personnel will also be evacuated to Fort Worth. A captain overseeing the effort says for now it is not believed to be an overwhelming number of people.
"I don't anticipate folks sleeping in cots. We have the capability,” explained Capt. Jonathan Townsend. “What we've done initially is to up our… it’s a very busy drill weekend here on board the installation as well. So we have increased our capacity for our normal Navy Gateway Inn and Suites, Navy Lodge, and we are prepared should it be necessary.”
As of now, it’s believed the first evacuated families to arrive would be traveling by car and might start showing up later Thursday evening.
Townsend says the Fort Worth base is designed to accommodate aircraft from all military branches of service, and there is plenty of ramp space should there be a need to take on more aircraft.
The evacuation order was given Thursday morning. Decisions are on-going according to officials as to how many additional aircraft or personnel are heading to Fort Worth.