Randolph nearly back to normal after enduring Hermine's wrath
By Robert Goetz
| 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs | Sept. 13, 2010
Tropical Storm Hermine blew through Randolph Air Force Base with wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour causing trees to be uprooted damage to base and personal property. (U.S. Air Force photo/Steve Thurow)
Mark Rangel and Andy Montemayor, 902nd Civil Engineering Squadron, coordinate their efforts to replace a the broken pipe of a water main caused by ground shifting as a result of Tropical Storm Hermine. (U.S. Air Force photo/Steve Thurow)
High wind gusts from Tropical Storm Hermine blew a tree onto a pickup truck at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were reported in the San Antonio area, with rainfall averaging about six inches in the area. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Terry)
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —
Most of the cleanup effort at Randolph is complete after the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine cut a wide swath of destruction from Texas to Oklahoma last week.
Like many areas in the storm's path, Randolph suffered substantial wind damage, with several trees blown down and numerous limbs scattered throughout the base, while nearly 8 inches of rain taxed the drainage system. At least one vehicle was damaged by a fallen tree.
"All of the rain was more than our system could handle, resulting in a couple of items," said Zakary Payne, 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron project management chief. "Some facilities required sand bags around the doors to prevent flooding."
Limbs and leaves that were caught in storm drain inlets compounded the problem, resulting in "inefficiencies due to decreased drainage areas," Mr. Payne said.
"As a result, a lot of these inlets drained slower than normal and were backing up," he said. "Our shops were out following the rain event, cleaning these inlets to improve flow."
The storm caused power outages at a few houses and at Bldgs. 902 and 907 in the Headquarters Air Education and Training Command complex, Mr. Payne said.
"This happened during the rain event and required our shops to work in the storm to replace a high-voltage switch," he said. "Power was restored within three hours of the outage."
Mr. Payne called site management "a big issue."
"Contractors spent most of the next days following the storm replacing fences that were knocked over and reinstalling erosion-control devices as needed," he said. "Replacing fencing is the primary item remaining and it is ongoing."
Mr. Payne also said eight roof leaks and two basement leaks were reported following the storm.
The storm shut down the base's flying training mission Sept. 7, said Alvin Hill, 12th Operations Support Squadron Weather Operations Flight chief.
"However, some transient aircraft arrived and departed after the storm moved out of the area," he said. "Training missions resumed the following day."
Mr. King said Randolph recorded 7.72 inches of rain due to Tropical Storm Hermine, including 6.58 inches Sept. 7. Sustained winds in the San Antonio area were estimated at more than 40 miles per hour with gusts close to 60 mph.
He said the last comparable event was Tropical Storm Erin in August 2007, which also drenched the San Antonio area with more than 7 inches of rain.