NORFOLK - The Navy is getting ready for whatever Hurricane Sandy brings to Hampton Roads.
Friday at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, sailors were preparing and putting out sandbags, cots, bed rolls and checking the disaster prep equipment at headquarters in Norfolk, the Lafayette River Annex and NSA Portsmouth.
Friday afternoon Admiral Bill Gortney, USFF commander, directed nearly two dozen ships to sortie in order to get out of the storm's path. The ships will leave from Naval Station Norfolk and JEB Little Creek-Fort Story Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
"Based on the current track of the storm, we made the decision to begin to sortie the fleet," said Gortney. "The current timeline allows them enough time to transit safely out of the path of the storm."
USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) will sortie from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach. Otherwise, the base will be open for normal operations on Saturday.
The following ships will sortie from Naval Station Norfolk:
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS San Antonio (LPD 17), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), USS Ashland (LSD 48), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gonzales (DDG 66), USS Mahan (DDG 72), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Nicholas (FFG 47), USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201), USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13), USNS William McClean (T-AKE 12).
USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Taylor (FFG 50) and USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) are already underway in the USFF area of responsibility.
The threat level was raised to Tropical Cyclone Condition Three from level four, which was announced Thursday by Rear Admiral Tim Alexander, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
Work Thursday and Friday was underway to secure loose items on all bases and remove debris to keep drainage areas from clogging.
Officials also urged Navy personnel and their families to review hurricane checklists and evacuation plans ahead of the storm.
Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness:
Condition Five: destructive winds possible within 96 hours
Condition Four: destructive winds possible within 72 hours
Condition Three: destructive winds possible within 48 hours
Condition Two: destructive winds possible within 24 hours
Condition One: destructive winds possible within 12 hours