WASHINGTON Oct 26 The U.S. Navy on Friday
ordered all ships in the Norfolk, Virginia, area - including the
nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier - out to
sea beyond the reach of approaching Hurricane Sandy.
It was just one of the storm precautions being announced by
the Pentagon, which said around 61,000 members of the National
Guard were ready to respond, if needed.
Sandy, dubbed a "Frankenstorm" by one government forecaster,
has begun merging with a polar air mass over the eastern United
States, potentially spawning a hybrid super-storm that could
wreak havoc along the U.S. East Coast.
On its current projected track, government forecasters said
Sandy could make landfall early next week anywhere between
Virginia, Maryland or Delaware up through New York or southern
The commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, Admiral Bill Gortney,
ordered more than two dozen ships including the Truman to
"sortie" out to sea beyond the path of the storm between Friday
afternoon and Saturday morning.
"Based on the current track of the storm, we made the
decision to begin to sortie the fleet," Gortney said in a
statement. "The current timeline allows them enough time to
transit safely out of the path of the storm."
The Navy said ships in port that are unable to sortie could
take precautions like adding additional mooring and storm lines
and disconnecting shore power cables.
The Pentagon said 61,000 members of the National Guard were
available to 12 states and the District of Columbia, if needed.
This has the potential to be a dangerous storm, including
the national capital region," Pentagon spokesman George Little
said, adding that people needed to follow instructions from
local emergency managers as the storm approaches the East Coast.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart)