Hundreds of buildings across Camp Lejeune and the New River air station in North Carolina still have tarps on the roof nearly a year after Hurricane Florence battered Marine bases on the East Coast.
While the base has made some progress rebuilding following Florence, the base has yet to fully recover as Category 3 Hurricane Dorian batters South Carolina and creeps toward the North Carolina coast.
Hurricane Dorian now has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, the National Hurricane Center noted in its updated forecast Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The storm is expected to “move near or over the coast” of North Carolina Thursday night and Friday and could dump six inches to 12 inches of rain on the Coastal Carolinas, which could cause “life-threatening flash floods," the National Hurricane Center forecasts.
According to Nat Fahy, a spokesman for Marine Corps Installations East, 200–300 buildings across Camp Lejeune and the New River air station in North Carolina have tarps on them from damage sustained by Hurricane Florence in September 2018.
Fahy said following Florence, 345 buildings needed tarps on them. But he said that the Marine bases have made some progress with regards to roof repairs, with many buildings slated to get metal roof replacements.
With a nearly $3.6 billion price tag in damages from Florence, the Corps is worried about the additional destruction that may come with Hurricane Dorian.
Maj. Gen. Julian D. Alford, the commander of Marine Corps Installations East, posted on the Camp Lejeune Facebook page that “many of the buildings on our installations are still undergoing repairs and are vulnerable to leaks.”
“While we are reinforcing or replacing temporary tarps, I urge building occupants to do what you can now to prepare, mitigate and eventually dry out these structures as soon as possible following the storm."
To help Marine families get out of the path of Hurricane Dorian, Alford approved a 96-hour liberty period for non-essential military personnel assigned to Camp Lejeune, New River and the Cherry Point air station. That liberty period kicked off Wednesday evening and ends at 7:30 a.m. Monday.
“This period is to allow service members and their families to get out of the path of the storm without burning leave,” Alford posted on the Camp Lejeune Facebook page.
Camp Lejeune is in the process of setting up shelters and staging vehicles as Dorian approaches.
Dorian is already lashing the South Carolina coast. The Corps’ coastal South Carolina bases, the Parris Island recruit depot and the Beaufort air station, ordered evacuations on Monday. The Beaufort air station posted on its Facebook page Col. Timothy P. Miller, commander of the air station, will end the evacuation order on Sept. 5.
According to the Parris Island, South Carolina, Facebook page, about 7,000 recruits have been bused to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia. Graduation ceremonies at the recruit depot have been canceled.
Parris Island also just announced it is ending its evacuation order.
The evacuated recruits still went through training while aboard the Albany logistics base. According to Parris Island, recruits at Albany can still train close order drill, various classes, land navigation, martial arts and infantry patrolling techniques.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.