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US Navy to evacuate 5,000 as military preps for Hurricane Irma
World | incidents | 10:43, 06 September 2017 | 944

AKIPRESS.COM - The US military has ordered the evacuation of over five thousand personnel from a Naval Air Station in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma, CNN reported. 

Irma is now a Category 5 storm and one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic.

Currently, it is threatening to slam into Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with "potentially catastrophic" force on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The military is braced for it to hit the US mainland and the current forecast suggests it could strike Florida over the weekend.

More than 5,000 military active duty, civilians, contractors and families based at Naval Air Station Key West have received mandatory evacuation orders, according to US Navy officials. The officials familiar with the evacuation plan say approximately 50 to 60 personnel will stay to man essential functions at the installation.

The Commander of the US Navy Region Southeast ordered the "mandatory evacuation of non-essential personnel and dependents from NAS Key West to safe haven within 300 miles of Atlanta, Georgia," according to Navy spokesman Bill Dougherty.

Navy officials tell CNN that aircraft, including fixed-wing planes and helicopters will be moving inland from Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida.

Submarines are preparing to evacuate or have been evacuated from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, according to several Navy officials. In the coming days, other Navy installations may be ordered to evacuate.

Dougherty said Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will shelter in place for the storm as it passes north of Cuba.

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