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Pearl Harbor ships, subs prepare to head to sea ahead of Hurricane Douglas

U.S. Navy ships and submarines based at Pearl Harbor not undergoing maintenance have begun plans to head to sea as Hurricane Douglas takes aim at the Hawaiian Islands, the Navy said Friday.

“We have been carefully tracking this storm, and based on the current track, we have decided to begin plans to sortie Pearl Harbor-based ships,” Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, commander of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said in a release.

Those ships will be positioned to help respond after the storm, if needed, the Navy said.

Hawaii-based Navy aircraft will be secured in hangars or flown to other airfields to avoid the effects of the hurricane.

The Navy said it orders a sortie during potentially extreme weather conditions to reduce the risk of significant damage to ships, submarines and piers during high winds and seas.

Some ships will not get under way due to maintenance. Options for those ships include adding additional mooring and storm lines, dropping the anchor, and disconnecting shore power cables.

The Air Force’s active duty 15th Wing and Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Wing also are preparing for Hurricane Douglas, with airmen securing all aircraft, officials said.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was at Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness (TCCOR) 3, indicating that destructive and sustained winds of 50 knots (57 mph) or greater are possible within 48 hours.

Joint base officials urged military and Defense Department personnel and their families to complete their disaster kits and emergency preparations and the base continues to operate its Emergency Operations Center to monitor the hurricane.

During TCCOR 3, the joint base is expected to close the Ford Island Bridge when wind speeds reach:

>> 35 knots/40 mph, closed to large high profile vehicles (large tour buses/tractor trailers);

>> 50 knots/57 mph, closed to all vehicles.

Navy tour boats to the USS Arizona Memorial have been suspended.

“For residents living on base, be prepared to safely shelter in place; no evacuations are currently planned” for joint base housing areas, officials said.

The state Department of Transportation said the airport duty manager for Kalaeloa Airport offered the use of Hangar 110 to secure aircraft that can be moved that are part of the nearby shuttered Naval Air Museum Barbers Point.

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