Navy orders warships in Va. out of Irene's path

By BROCK VERGAKIS | August 25, 2011 | 7:50 PM EDT

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Navy has ordered ships at its largest East Coast hub to head out to safer waters to protect them from Hurricane Irene, which is approaching the East Coast.

Virginia is home to several Navy installations, including the world's largest naval base.

Thursday's order sent 27 ships out to sea, including an aircraft carrier, destroyers and submarines. Those ships should be out of the storm's path by midday Saturday. Another 11 ships were already away and 28 ships are remaining at secured piers considered safe havens.

The Navy says ships that are at sea can better weather such storms. It also will help protect piers from being damaged.

The Navy moves it ships when storms can produce winds of 50 knots and a five to seven-foot storm surge.