NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Navy is gearing for the 2017 hurricane season with an exercise over the next week and a half.
Installations up and down the East Coast are participating in Hurricane Exercise/Citadel Gale 2017 now through May 19. The exercise is set to include two simulated storms developing and intensifying in strength, threatening the Gulf Coast and East Coast regions.
Officials say the exercise is designed to prepare the Navy’s response to storms and its ability to deploy forces in severe conditions.
Three locally based ships were deployed to Haiti last October in response to Hurricane Matthew — a Category 4 storm when it surged through the Caribbean.
Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 flew over Haiti on Oct. 9 to survey damage from the storm.
Outer bands of Matthew went on to wreak havoc in the Hampton Roads area, causing millions of dollars in damages from heavy rain and strong winds.
The fragile North Carolina Highway 12 again suffered damage from overwash as Matthew swept through the region.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in March announced that Matthew would be retired from Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.
Matthew was one of a handful of tropical systems to impact the region in 2016.
Tropical Storm Hermine struck in early September of last year, resulting in extensive flooding and damage across Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina.
Dominion Virginia Power crews noted thousands of customers across both areas lost power during the storm.
A state of emergency was declared in 11 North Carolina counties — including Bertie and Chowan — due to widespread flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia.
Officials said there 138 water rescues in late September in Bertie and Chowan.
Tropical Storm Colin largely skirted by the region last June, with a much more minimal impact than the other three systems.
The Navy says there will be no ship movements during the Hurricane Exercise/Citadel Gale 2017.
Hurricane season begins June 1.