US Naval vessels in the port of Norfolk are making final preparations to sail in an effort to help vessels weather the storm.

“The decision to sortie the ships from Hampton Roads is based on Tropical Storm Florence’s current track, which indicates the storm has the potential to bring sustained winds in excess of 50 knots and storm surge in excess of 8 feet to the area, which meets the criteria for getting the fleet underway to avoid storm damage,” said USFF Commander Adm. Christopher Grady according to a US Navy release.

“Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway.”

The forecasted winds and tidal surge are understood to be too great to keep the ships in port. The US Navy say that having the ships underway also makes them ready and available to respond to any national tasking, including any needed disaster response efforts in the local area after the storm has passed.

Preparations for ships getting underway start with ‘Sortie Condition Charlie’, which reportedly indicates the onset of destructive weather conditions to the port within approximately 72 hours.

According to the US Navy, ‘Sortie Condition Bravo’ is set when onset of destructive weather conditions to the port are within approximately 48 hours.Finally, ‘Sortie Condition Alpha’ indicates the port will see destructive weather conditions within 24 hours, and also initiates the execution of the sortie for all ships able to get underway.

The US Navy is keen to stress that no evacuation orders have been issued for personnel at this time; however, they are encouraging service members and their families to follow their social media outlets for official fleet updates.

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