MAYPORT, Fla. – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida residents living in the panhandle are bracing as Hurricane Nate heads toward landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
People living along the coast will start feeling the storm’s effects over the next day, and the Navy is already sending help.
Two ships based at Naval Station Mayport were scheduled to set off toward the Gulf Coast region Saturday morning to get into a position to help with recovery after Nate makes landfall.
The USS New York left its homeport just after 11 a.m. Saturday.
The commander of U.S. Fleet Forces ordered both the USS New York and USS Iwo Jima, along with elements from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, to get underway.
The order came Friday, not long after the National Hurricane Center put out a hurricane watch and storm surge warning for the northern Gulf Coast ahead of Nate.
Much of that region is under a hurricane warning Saturday as the storm strengthens ahead of landfall.
The Mayport ships will be on hand to provide medical support, maritime security and civil affairs, logistic support and air support with a total of 13 aircraft.
In early September, sailors and Marines on these ships provided assistance to the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma, clearing debris from roads, giving out food, water and blankets, and repairing critical infrastructure.
Navy representatives said the Iwo Jima’s departure was delayed from its Saturday morning schedule because of a mechanical problem with the ship’s propulsion system.