As Hampton Roads sailors deploy into the Atlantic, Navy forecasters and meteorologists anticipate how severe weather could impact their ship’s every move.
“We like to say that we have the home field advantage when we go overseas on the away games,” says Captain Raymond Delgado, Commanding Officer of the Navy's Fleet Weather Center.
The sailors of the Navy's Fleet Weather Center on Naval Station Norfolk are the military's first line of defense against major storms like Cristobal. The storm may be far from our coast, but for the Navy, the hurricane is still considered a threat.
“Hurricane Cristobal is not impacting land assets but we do have sea assets to worry about,” says Petty Officer Matthew Anderson, a Navy Forecaster.
Wednesday, the sailors tracked both US and allied ships as Cristobal progressed. The sailors are in constant communication with ship commanding officers and masters at sea, routing them out of the storm's path to safer waters if need be.
“Mother Nature, even for a large Navy ship has a great impact and you`ve got to respect it, and if you don`t respect it, it will bite you,” Captain Delgado says.
They're watching the skies across the Atlantic while also making sure home bases are protected.
“So if at any time there are severe thunderstorms or excessive flooding we give them a heads up saying, OK this is what’s going to happen, This is the amount of rainfall you can look for,” Petty Officer Anderson says.
The Fleet Weather Center also helps in the aftermath of major weather events. For example, with Hurricane Sandy, they coordinated with local and national agencies to deploy sailors and marines to New York and New Jersey.
“It`s an absolute necessity for the Navy to be ready to respond to natural disasters worldwide,” Captain Delgado says.