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US Navy moves ships from San Diego bases in preparation for Hilary

While 10 ships are headed out to sea in preparation for the storm, some are under maintenance and cannot safely deploy.
US Navy moves ships from San Diego bases in preparation for Hilary
Posted at 8:39 PM, Aug 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-20 14:48:55-04

The USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is leaving Naval Base San Diego, as authorities say it’s for the safety of sailors on board and for the vessel itself.

More than 10,000 U.S. Navy sailors and 10 ships are headed out to sea on Saturday, moving away from danger as Hurricane Hilary moves toward the shores of Naval Base San Diego.

Officers say they can’t remember the last time they’ve had to do this.

"This is a historic event for San Diego; we haven't seen this in some time," said Commanding Officer Robert Heely.

Sailors work on these ships 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so commanding officers say it’s best to avoid the high winds and heavy rainfall.

"Once they get out to their areas, they’ll be focusing on training and supporting Navy objectives," said Admiral Randall Peck, Commander for Expeditionary Strike Group 3.

SEE MORE: Hurricane Hilary threatens catastrophic flooding in California, Mexico

But some ships are under maintenance and cannot safely deploy.

"There’s other ships that will remain here because it doesn’t make sense in terms of a cost-benefit analysis to get them underway," said Peck.

The sailors who stay back will be under specific instructions. They’ll increase the lines, deploy anchors, and remove any hazardous items that could fly off the decks.

"Any areas on board the ship exposed to the weather, we’ll bring that gear in to make sure it’s protected and doesn’t fly or hit another ship," said Heely.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the region. It’s been 84 years since a tropical storm made landfall in California.

Officers say they looked to the opposite coast for preparation and extensively leveraged a lot of their planning efforts, instructions, and processes for dealing with hurricane season on the east coast.

The commanding officer says these crews will only return when it is deemed safe. The exact date is undetermined.

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