UPDATE: USFF Directs Norfolk Ships to Sortie Ahead of Florence, Installations Set TCCOR III

Story Number: NNS180908-01Release Date: 9/8/2018 9:16:00 AM
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From U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- UPDATE:  11:15 AM (EDT) Monday, September 10, 2018

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Alpha; ships are completing final preparations and will begin to sortie Sept. 10, ahead of Hurricane Florence.

There are nearly 30 ships preparing to get underway from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek as Hurricane Florence 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.

Some units will not get underway due to maintenance status but will be taking extra precautions to avoid potential damage. 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.

“Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway,” said U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady in a news release earlier this weekend.

The number one mission is to protect the fleet, to include keeping our personnel and their families safe.

Additionally, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic ordered all Navy installations in the Hampton Roads 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 expected within 48 hours.

Navy installations in Hampton Roads have begun to prepare for the storm. Some preparations 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.

All personnel and their families should review their Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) account at https://navyfamily.navy.mil, as well as review hurricane checklists and evacuation plans in the event an evacuation is necessary. Service members are encouraged to discuss evacuation and reporting requirements with their chain of command and family members.

Note to media:
Sortie Conditions are as follows:

* Condition Charlie: Ships prepare to sortie within 48 hours to avoid heavy weather. 
* Condition Bravo: Sortie is expected within 24 hours to avoid heather weather.
* Condition Alpha: Sortie commences to avoid heavy weather.

Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness are as follows:

* Condition IV: Trend indicates possible destructive winds within 72 hours.
* Condition III: Destructive winds are possible within 48 hours.
* Condition II: Destructive winds are possible within 24 hours.
* Condition I: Destructive winds are possible within 12 hours.

Media interested in covering sortie of ships at Naval Station Norfolk should contact U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs at 757-836-3630. 

Media interested in covering storm preparations at Naval Station Norfolk should contact Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs at 757-322-2853.

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UPDATE:  12:30 PM (EDT) Saturday, September 8, 2018 
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) Command orders all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Bravo.

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) Command orders all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Charlie, Sept. 7.

Ships will make final preparations this weekend in anticipation of getting underway Monday.

The setting of Sortie Condition Charlie does not mean the actual sortie is inevitable.

Should weekend weather forecasts indicate a decrease in the strength or change in the track of the storm, the sortie condition may be downgraded.

“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,” said USFF Commander Adm. Christopher Grady. “Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway.”

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.

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.

No evacuation orders have been issued for personnel at this time; however, we encourage service members and their families to follow us on social media for official fleet updates.

Additionally, a variety of information is available in support of family readiness during hurricane season, listed below.

- Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System, which provides a standardized method for the Navy to account, manage and monitor the recovery process for personnel and their families affected and/or scattered by a wide-spread catastrophic event.

- State of Virginia Emergency Management, which has many resources for planning and preparing emergency kits, developing evacuation plans and addressing specific special needs for children, the elderly and others

- Virginia Department of Transportation Hurricane Evacuation Guide, which provides more detailed information for preparing for a hurricane, hurricane evacuation and public shelters in Virginia

- Red Cross Hurricane Preparedness Guide, which provides general overview of tips and guidelines for hurricane preparedness

- Prepare Hampton Roads website provides valuable tips for preparing for high winds and evacuation.

For more news visit Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command's website.

A GOES satellite image of tropical storm Florence at 0842 EST.
180908-N-NO101-001 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 08, 2016) A GOES satellite image of tropical storm Florence at 0842 EST. Located 840 miles south east of Bermuda, heading west at 9 mph with sustained winds of 65 mph. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy NOAA)
September 8, 2018
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