If there are any residents of areas in the path of Hurricane Florence who haven’t evacuated, maybe the sight of almost 30 United States Navy warships fleeing will be enough to make them rethink their decision to stay.
The warships are leaving Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia after the Navy issued a “sortie code alpha” earlier this week.
Sortie code alpha is the Navy’s way of telling its ships to get out of Dodge, immediately.
Footage of the behemoth warships lumbering out of port was uploaded to the Navy’s YouTube channel.
Although a few ships were stuck in port due to maintenance issues, they will be safeguarded by extra precautions, according to a release by the Navy.
In the release, United States Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady underlined the importance of the ships being at sea, as they “can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway.”
The ships will be directed to safer areas, away from the hurricane.
Sortie conditions were described in the release, with three distinct levels explained.
- Condition Charlie: Ships prepare to sortie within 48 hours to avoid heavy weather.
- Condition Bravo: Sortie is expected within 24 hours to avoid heavy weather.
- Condition Alpha: Sortie commences to avoid heavy weather.
The release also stated “the number one mission is to protect the fleet, to include keeping our personnel and their families safe.”
Installations in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area have also begun digging in to weather the storm. Sandbags have been placed and generators have been checked and fueled, according to the Navy.
As of Wednesday morning, Florence was still a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to Fox News. It was about 575 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
According to LiveScience, it could reach Category 5 strength — with sustained winds of more than 156 mph — before weakening again and making its expected landfall on the Carolina coast late Thursday.
With Florence shaping up to be one of the more powerful hurricanes to ever hit the area, state and local governments are not taking any chances either. Mandatory evacuations have already begun along some parts of the Atlantic coast.
Over 1 million people have evacuated already, with that number increasing by the hour.
My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2018
With the Navy moving ships out of the way and residents fleeing the coast, it’s a waiting game until Florence hits.
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