Navy scrambles San Diego ships ahead of rare Pacific hurricane
Several San Diego-based warships will steam out of San Diego Bay ahead of Hurricane Hilary Saturday, the Navy said Friday.
While Navy warships are built to handle the worst weather the oceans throw at them, there's a risk of damage to the piers on which they're tied while in port, one Navy official said.
Brian O'Rourke, a Navy spokesperson in San Diego, said not all the ships in the bay will evacuate.
It's not unusual for the Navy to order it's ships out of port ahead of storms — what's unusual is that it's happening at a California port.
In 2019, the Navy ordered ships and aircraft based in Norfolk, Virginia out ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
Hilary is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it hits San Diego, according to the National Weather Service.
It looks to be a busy weekend for San Diego sailors. In addition to ship movement, sailors will be preparing Navy installations for potential flooding and high winds, O'Rourke said.
Military aircraft at Naval Air Station North Island will be moved into hangars and tied down, he said.
Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar are also preparing for the storm by sandbagging base infrastructure, said 1st Lt. Jacoby Hawkins. Marine aircraft at the air station are also being placed in hangers and tied down, Hawkins said Friday.
A National Hurricane Center bulletin published Friday warned of "life-threatening" and potentially "catastrophic" flooding likely over Baja California and Southern California this weekend and into next week.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting Hilary's winds to gust as high as 40-50 miles per hour along San Diego's coastal areas Sunday with up to four inches of rain.
There is a moderate risk of flash flooding along the coast and a high risk in the mountains and deserts.