U.S. Navy orders dozens of warships and aircraft to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) ordered U.S. Navy ships homeported at Naval Station Mayport to set Sortie Condition Alpha as Hurricane Dorian heads toward Florida’s Atlantic coast.

“Our top priority must always be the safety and security of our ships and aircraft, as well as our Sailors and families. We move our ships and aircraft in order to mitigate potential damage. When maintenance status prevents storm avoidance, we take extra precautions to best protect these units,” said Rear Adm. Don D. Gabrielson, commander,

USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT. “We appreciate how our families support our missions even as their own homes face the risk of these difficult storms.”

USS Shamal (PC 13) got underway today, and USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Billings (LCS 15), and USS Milwaukee (LCS 15), are preparing to get underway from NS Mayport tomorrow as Hurricane Dorian is forecasted 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.

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.

USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Detroit (LCS 7), USS Little Rock (LCS 9), USS Hue City (CG 66), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) and USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) will shelter in place in the Mayport basin and will take precautions to avoid damage.

Additionally, Commander, Navy Region Southeast ordered all Navy installations in the Mayport 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 possible within 48 hours.

Preparations for the storm 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.

Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alana Langdon
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Beard

Also, the U.S. Navy relocated some of its aircraft fleet to a safe zone. The P-8 Poseidon was one of several Navy aircraft taking safe haven at Wright-Patterson AFB as Hurricane Dorian threatened their home stations.

The Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs office said six squadrons of aircraft would be flown out of the base beginning Friday to be temporarily relocated across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Aircraft that can’t be evacuated due to ongoing maintenance or other reasons will be moved to hangars for the duration of the storm.

Photo by R.J. Oriez

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