Florida, Georgia Naval Bases Prepare for Hurricane Idalia

August 29, 2023 6:05 PM
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) prepares to leave its homeport, Naval Station Mayport, as Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet orders U.S. Navy ships in the area to sortie on Aug. 29, 2023. US Navy Photo

Ahead of the anticipated Tuesday night landfall of Hurricane Idalia, Navy ships and aircraft have either left the path of the storm or are hunkered down with extra mooring, Navy officials told USNI News Tuesday.

At Naval Station Mayport, Fla., guided-missile destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) and Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), USS St. Louis (LCS-19), USS Billings (LCS-15) and the recently decommissioned Sioux City (LCS-11) have been secured with heavy weather moorings at the pier. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) and USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) and the other DDGs at the naval base sortied to escape the storm.

Further north, at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., four Ohio-class submarines in maintenance availabilities and two support ships have been secured to the pier with heavy weather moorings ahead of high winds, a Navy official told USNI News.

Navy aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., are either hangered or have relocated to Maxwell Air Force Base, outside of Montgomery, Ala., a Navy official told USNI News.

The storm’s path doesn’t require Navy aircraft from Naval Air Station Key West Fla., or NAS Pensacola to sortie, the official told USNI News.

National Weather Service Image

The first tropical storm force winds are expected to hit Florida’s west coast early Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

“A northward to north-northeastward motion is expected through tonight, with Idalia’s center forecast to reach the Big Bend coast of Florida on Wednesday morning. After landfall, the center of Idalia is forecast to turn toward the northeast and east, moving near or along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina late Wednesday and Thursday,” reads a Tuesday night forecast.

Three thousand members Florida National Guard have been activated to support disaster relief efforts as the storm “may bring a life-threatening storm surge to portions of the Florida Gulf Coast, as well as strong winds and significant flooding across Southeastern states,” according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency statement.

An additional 1,800 guard members are set to join in support efforts.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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