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Skagit airport sustains damage in Sunday weather event

January 14, 2019 GMT

BURLINGTON — Two hangars at Skagit Regional Airport remain unable to house aircraft after being damaged during severe weather Sunday.

The hangars, which hold a combined 20 aircraft, lost their doors and one of the buildings had a significant portion of its roof blown off. Port of Skagit crews worked for about 11 hours Sunday to remove sheet metal debris and secure the damaged hangars.

Port of Skagit Executive Director Patsy Martin said it appears some aircraft sustained minor damage as well, though the full extent won’t be known until insurance companies can complete their evaluations. The airport’s insurance adjuster and a structural engineer are also assessing the damage.

The storm is believed to have occurred about 3 a.m.

As of Friday, Martin said tenants have removed their equipment from eight units in the hangars. Others are trying to figure out what to do.

“This wasn’t just a windstorm,” Martin said. “We’ve had nothing like this before.”

Due to the storm’s severity and precision, port staff believe it was a weather event called a microburst. Some aircraft near the hangars were left untouched, a port news release states.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a microburst is a downdraft within a thunderstorm that can exceed speeds of 100 mph — equivalent to some tornadoes.

Martin said the port has reached out to NOAA for more information.

The port has put up fencing around all impacted units and is working with tenants to remove their equipment.

Tenants are encouraged to contact staff if they have questions or concerns regarding their unit.

“We hope to get through this quickly and get a resolution for this emergency,” Martin said.

On Monday, the port will ask the port commissioners to declare an emergency in order to expedite repairs.