US Fleet Forces (USFF) Command ordered all US Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Bravo ahead of Florence.
The tropical storm Florence was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday. The US Navy ships made final preparations during the weekend in anticipation of the hurricane.
Previously, Sortie Condition Charlie was ordered for Norfolk-based ships.
“The decision to sortie the ships from Hampton Roads is based on Tropcial 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,” USFF Commander Adm. Christopher Grady, said.
“Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway,” he explained.
The forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port. 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 indicates the onset of destructive weather conditions to the port within approximately 72 hours.
Sortie Condition Bravo is set when onset of destructive weather conditions to the port are within approximately 48 hours.
No evacuation orders have been issued for personnel at this time, according to the navy.
On Sunday at 1100 PM AST (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Florence was located near latitude 24.6 North, longitude 57.7 West. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.
Florence continues to strengthen and is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night and to remain “an extremely dangerous major hurricane” through Thursday.