With Joaquin strengthening to a hurricane and getting stronger the closer it gets to the United States, the East Coast is bracing itself for impact. With Joaquin now a Category 4 hurricane, North Carolina and New Jersey have already declared a state of emergency. Forecasters are projecting that Joaquin could hit Virginia, North Carolina, New Jerse, and Maryland — all states with a heavy military presence.
Sailors at Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval station, are busy preparing for the storm. According to the Associated Press, over 13,000 sandbags are being filled, as officials expect to weather days of rain. Fleet Forces Command has ordered all ships and submarines to be ready to deploy in the next 48 hours should the weather threaten the Virginia area. It’s what officials are calling the most intensive storm preparation since Hurricane Ernesto in 2006.
Meanwhile, the Air Force is moving three dozen jets from Joint Base Langley-Eustis to Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana. Officials at Aberdeen Proving Ground are also considering deflating a pair of Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, or JLENS, balloons. They use radar to detect airborne threats to the Washington region. But they aren’t able to withstand a Category 3 storm. And with two states so far preemptively declaring a state of emergency, thousands of National Guard members are now on alert.