Coast Guard prepares to ensure effective response to Hurricane Earl

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guard units in the path of Hurricane Earl are making preparations to ensure an effective response in the wake of the storm Thursday.

Coast Guard personnel, aircraft, boats and cutters in parts of North Carolina and Virginia are relocating to safe havens or taking shelter locally to minimize the storm’s impact on post-hurricane missions.

Each unit has a heavy weather plan that is designed to help mitigate the disruption of operations associated with inclement weather. These plans are triggered when the impact of severe weather is imminent. With Hurricane Earl approaching the North Carolina coast, the at-risk Coast Guard units have implemented their heavy weather plans.

Coast Guard personnel and assets assigned to these units are relocating to a safe haven, getting underway or sheltering in place depending on their heavy weather plans.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., for example, has already relocated some of its aircraft to safe havens in order to ensure they are kept secure and are able to respond in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Some of the small boat stations along the coast of North Carolina have instead been ordered to shelter in place and weather the storm, as per their heavy weather plans. Preparations have also been made to help ensure that personnel can continue to monitor distress frequencies, even if a command center is impacted by the storm.

The Coast Guard is also working with state and regional emergency operation centers to coordinate preparedness and response efforts with other federal, state and local agencies.

These strategic preparations are only part of the Coast Guard’s hurricane operations. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules crews have been flying missions to alert vessels at sea of the incoming storm and advise them to take appropriate action.

Captains of the Port for Hampton Roads and North Carolina have updated their respective port conditions to ensure the safety of their operations and infrastructure.

After the hurricane, the Coast Guard conducts assessments of aids to navigation, waterways, bridges and Coast Guard facilities to better direct response efforts.

As the Coast Guard continues these preparations for Hurricane Earl, it also continues to urge mariners to also make the appropriate preparations and remain conscious of port, waterways and bridge conditions.

For more information on Earl, visit the National Hurricane Center Web site http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

For more information regarding port status in your area, use the following contact information:

  • Hampton Roads – 757-668-5555
  • Baltimore – 410-576-2521
  • North Carolina – 252-247-4570
  • Philadelphia – 215-271-4960

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