NORFOLK, Va. (AP/WAVY) — The U.S. Navy has ordered ships based at Naval Station Norfolk to head out to sea to avoid Hurricane Dorian.
Navy spokeswoman Elizabeth Baker told the Associated Press by phone Wednesday that vessels docked at the world’s largest Navy base in Norfolk and other nearby installations are getting under way.
Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis said in a statement Tuesday that the ships will remain at sea until the threat from the storm subsides. About 110 aircraft will either be secured in hangars or fly to more inland airfields.
“A lot of what were doing now is putting a flyable assets in other places so if they’re needed after the storm they can be utilized,” said Captain Shawn Bailey, commodore of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic.
Bailey says 36 helicopters at Naval Station Norfolk will be going to Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida. And sailors didn’t forget about their own base.
As of Tuesday, 3,200 sandbags were sent out to different commands on base to block off doors. Sailors will continue to put out sand bags until all commands have enough.
About 20 ships were set to head out Wednesday, which Captain Derek Lavan says happens within a few hours.
“The majority of the ships will be fully manned for this, so we have 20 ships looking around 15 to 20 thousand sailors,” he said.
Ships that have to stay in port because of maintenance will take extra precautions — including the additional mooring and storm lines — to avoid potential damage.
The Navy’s order follows a similar one made by the U.S Air Force earlier Tuesday.
F-22 Raptor fighter jets and T-38 Talon training planes were ordered to leave Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. They’re going to the Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base outside Columbus, Ohio.