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Navy ships on notice to leave as Florence could have Norfolk in cross-hairs

NORFOLK, Va. ― As Florence returned to hurricane status in the Atlantic, the Navy’s U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Bravo ahead of the storm.

Condition Bravo is a “warning order” set when onset of destructive weather conditions to the port are within approximately 48 hours. Navy officials set that condition Saturday, before tropical storm Florence strengthened to hurricane status on Sunday morning.

The weather in the Hampton Roads area is expected to worsen as the week progresses.

The storm could mess up a port visit for the Japanese destroyer Makinami, which entered port and tied up at Naval Station Norfolk, this morning, after operating with U.S. forces off the east coast in recent days.

According to Marine Traffic, the Makinami departed Portsmouth, England, on Aug. 20.

The ship is visiting Norfolk on her return trip to Japan.

JS Makinami is conducting a previously scheduled port visit into Norfolk," FFC spokeswoman Alana Garas told Navy Times. “With the pending storm preparations, she will be part of the sortie plan in the event Sortie Condition Alpha is set in the Hampton Roads area and ships get underway.”

Garas said that during its transit to Norfolk, the Makinami was operating with the guided-missile destroyer Stout, including conducting a passing exercise.

Stout entered Norfolk shortly after Mikinami's arrival

A PASSEX involves ships maneuvering close to each other, as happens during underway replenishment, giving each ship experience in close-in ship handling techniques.

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