HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — As Dorian makes its way up the East Coast, the military is standing watch, ready for whatever the storm may bring.
The Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard are doing preps of their own.
Based on current tracking, the storm is anticipated to impact the local region early Friday morning. Officials tell 10 On Your Side they’re not taking any chances, and they say you shouldn’t either.
“Based on the current track of the storm, we made the decision to begin to sortie our Hampton Roads-based ships and aircraft tomorrow,” said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. “This allows time for our assets to transit safely out of the path of the storm.”
The Navy says the ships will remain at sea until the threat from Dorian subsides. Aircraft will be stored in wind-resistant hangars at Naval Station Norfolk’s Chambers Field and Naval Air Station Oceana. Others will fly to other airbases, the Navy says.
Ships that have to stay in port because of maintenance will take extra precautions to avoid potential damage. Some of these options include: adding additional mooring and storm lines, dropping the anchor and disconnecting shore power cables.
Rear Adm. Charles W. Rock, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (CNRMA), ordered all installations in the Hampton Roads area to prepare for possible sustained winds greater than 50 knots within 48 hours, thereby setting Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR) Three (III).
“This is a storm that we very much need to pay attention to and prepare for,” said Capt. Kevin Carroll, sector commander with the Coast Guard in Portsmouth.
Carroll said because vessels are leaving the area, people need to stay off the water.
He said they’ve had to respond to situations during past storms that could’ve been avoided.
“As the storm heightens, our ability to respond to search and rescue diminishes,” Carroll said. “It gets to one point where it’s zero, where we will not be able to respond to search and rescue calls.”
On the ground, sailors at Naval Station Oceana are filling sandbags, testing generators and preparing supplies.
In the skies, F-22 Raptor fighter jets and T-38 Talon training planes are flying out of Langley Air Force Base in Hampton. The planes will be heading to an Air National Guard Base outside Columbus, Ohio. This base is the same one the squadron flew to during Hurricane Florence last year.
“As a precautionary measure, we are relocating our F-22s and T-38s to a location outside of Dorian’s projected path,” said Col. David Lopez, 1st Fighter Wing commander. “We are coordinating with our Team Langley Mission Partners to send the appropriate aircrew, maintenance, and support personnel in order to ensure the safety and security of our aircraft. We will begin evacuating our jets today; all aircraft are scheduled to arrive at the restaging location by Wednesday afternoon.”
Joint Base Langley-Eustis has already begun executing protective measures to secure infrastructure from the approaching storm. “We have been preparing throughout the holiday weekend with our partner agencies to help mitigate the effects of Hurricane Dorian on JBLE,” said Col. Clinton A. Ross, 633rd Air Base Wing commander.
Once Dorian passes, the boats and planes will head back to Hampton Roads. Until then, officials are watching the system closely and issuing a stern message.
“The National Weather Service, the State of Virginia, they’re issuing warnings. If you don’t heed them, you are pushing your luck,” said Carroll.
The Coast Guard said it’s coordinating with the other military branches and they’ll be ready to respond to any issues associated with the storm as soon as it’s safe to do so.
They’re also encouraging the public to get hurricane kits ready just in case.