MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) ordered U.S. Navy ships in the Mayport area to set Sortie Condition Alpha or Bravo, Oct. 4, as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the Florida coast.
Since Monday, Hurricane Matthew has made landfall in Southern and Western Haiti as a Category IV Hurricane, with maximum sustained winds estimated in excess of 145 mph near the center of the storm. It is expected to travel parallel along the Florida coast as a Category III hurricane before turning northeast, with the storm passing by the Mayport basin late Friday.
Rear Adm. Sean Buck, COMUSNAVSO/C4F, has directed three ships to sortie by this afternoon in response to Hurricane Matthew. The sortie is ordered to reduce the risk of significant damage to ships and piers during extreme weather conditions such as high winds and seas.
"The current track of the storm indicates sustained winds of 40-45 knots in the Mayport basin later this week," said Buck. "The decision to sortie was made early to allow sufficient time for the ships to prepare adequately and sail to safe waters."
USS Anzio (CG 68) and USS Montgomery (LCS 8) have already sortied from Mayport. USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) will sortie late this morning. All three ships will travel north and east to ride out the storm.
USS Zephyr (PC 8) and USS Shamal (PC 13) have moved to a safe berth in the basin, while USS Tornado (PC 14) and USS Farragut (DDG 99) will remain in dry-dock for maintenance availabilities.
USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS New York (LPD 21), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), and USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) will shelter in place in the Mayport basin and will take extra precautions to avoid damage, depending on the severity of the weather. These options include rigging additional mooring and storm lines, disconnecting shore power cables, and/or lowering the anchor.
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