SAN DIEGO — San Diego-based Navy ships are battening down the hatches as Hurricane Hilary approaches, including the send-off of several warships out of the bay.

Officials with the Navy confirmed with FOX 5 on Friday that the Commander for the U.S. 3rd Fleet, which covers military operations in the Pacific Ocean, initiated “Sortie Condition Alpha” — an order to deploy naval ships.

“In order to ensure the safety of our Sailors and ships, we are taking all necessary measures to mitigate potential damage to infrastructure and Third Fleet vessels caused by the storm,” Third Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Michael Boyle, said in a statement. “Safety remains our top priority, and putting all capable ships to sea makes it easier for us to manage the situation ashore.”

San Diego-based ships and submarines from Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Coronado and Naval Base Point Loma are set to depart tomorrow, naval spokesperson Brian O’Rourke said. The ships will remain at sea until inclement weather from the storm subsides.

Remaining aircraft are secured in hangers that are rated to withstand higher winds, O-Rourke added. This includes facilities at Naval Air Station North Island and naval Air Facility El Centro.

Any other ships staying in port will have extra precautions in place to avoid damage, including adding additional mooring and storm lines. Navy officials will respond depending on the severity of the weather, O’Rourke said.

According to officials, naval installations in San Diego are also preparing for inclement weather on base by removing hazards and securing buildings, protecting essential equipment, moving small craft to safe havens, placing sandbags and removing debris from drainage areas.

Much of Southern California is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning as Hurricane Hilary is anticipated to continue its northward movement.

According to the National Weather Service, tropical storm force winds are expected to set-in Saturday night into Sunday morning in areas under the warning. Rains are also anticipated to begin over the weekend, reaching its peak Sunday to Monday morning.