Navy sends many ships in San Diego Bay to sea to avoid damage by Hurricane Hilary

The USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves San Diego Harbor for deployment on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 in San Diego, CA.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves San Diego Harbor for deployment in December 2020. (Jarrod Valliere / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Navy announced late Friday night that it will send many of its warships out of San Diego Bay on Saturday to make it easier to manage and secure vessels that need to stay in port when Hurricane Hilary slams Southern California as a tropical storm over the next two days.

"In order to ensure the safety of our Sailors and ships, we are taking all necessary measures to mitigate potential damage to infrastructure and 3rd Fleet vessels caused by the storm," Vice Adm. Michael Boyle, commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, said in a statement.

"Safety remains our top priority, and putting all capable ships to sea makes it easier for us to manage the situation ashore."

A tropical storm warning was issued late Friday for a wide swath of the Southland — ranging from the California-Mexico border along the coast to Point Mugu, and as far inland as the Mojave Desert. The warning brings the threat of powerful winds and the potential for what forecaster called life-threatening and “potentially catastrophic” flooding.

San Diego is home to more than 50 surface ships, including three aircraft carriers, as well as four nuclear-powered submarines.

The Navy says it will move ships from the naval bases in San Diego, Coronado and Point Loma.

"The ships will remain at sea until inclement weather from the storm subsides," the Navy said. "Aircraft are secured in hangars that are rated to withstand wind greater than those anticipated onboard Naval Air Station North Island and Naval Air Facility El Centro."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.