Thursday, June 30, 2022

Navy directs Norfolk ships to ‘sortie’ ahead of Hurricane Florence. Here’s what that entails

HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of NOAA
HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of NOAA

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Alpha; ships are completing final preparations and will begin to sortie Monday, ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Sortie conditions are as follows:

  • Condition Charlie: Ships prepare to sortie within 48 hours to avoid heavy weather.
  • Condition Bravo: Sortie is expected within 24 hours to avoid heather weather.
  • Condition Alpha: Sortie commences to avoid heavy weather.

There are nearly 30 ships preparing to get underway from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek as Hurricane Florence is forecast to bring high winds and rain to the Mid-Atlantic coast. Ships will be directed to areas of the Atlantic where they will be best postured for storm avoidance, according to the Navy.

Some units will not get underway due to maintenance status but will be taking extra precautions to avoid potential damage.

Commanding officers have a number of options when staying in port, depending on the severity of the weather. Some of these options include adding additional mooring and storm lines, dropping the anchor, and disconnecting shore power cables, the Navy said.

“Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway,” said U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady in a news release earlier this weekend.

The No. 1 mission is to protect the fleet, to include keeping our personnel and their families safe.

Additionally, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic ordered all Navy installations in the Hampton Roads area to set Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Three (III), meaning sustained destructive winds of greater than 50 knots associated with a tropical system are expected within 48 hours.

Navy installations in Hampton Roads have begun to prepare for the storm. Some preparations include securing hazards throughout the installations, removing debris from drainage areas, designating alternate parking areas for flood prone areas, sand bagging flood prone areas, topping off fuel in generators and government vehicles and relocating dumpsters and equipment to more secure areas.

All personnel and their families should review their Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System account at https://navyfamily.navy.mil, as well as review hurricane checklists and evacuation plans in the event an evacuation is necessary.

Service members are encouraged to discuss evacuation and reporting requirements with their chain of command and family members, the Navy said.

Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness are as follows:

  • Condition IV: Trend indicates possible destructive winds within 72 hours.
  • Condition III: Destructive winds are possible within 48 hours.
  • Condition II: Destructive winds are possible within 24 hours.
  • Condition I: Destructive winds are possible within 12 hours.
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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