August 31, 2006 - Super Typhoon Ioke
Poised to Pummel Wake Island
was up on Wake
when the Air Force ordered the first full evacuation
of all on-island personnel (a total of 188) on Monday, August
28, 2006. They had good reason; the forecasted track had Super
Typhoon Ioke (eye-oh-kay
) plowing directly over Wake
three days later. A pair of C-17 cargo aircraft departed out
of Hickam AFB, Honolulu, HI, and landed on Wake around 6 AM
that morning. Personnel and luggage were quickly loaded onto
the planes and we took off only one hour later. The 4.5 hour
flight was one of the smoothest I've ever experienced.
Upon arriving at Hickam, we were greeted by a slew of reporters,
one of which pulled me aside and asked a few questions. You
can click below to watch a video of me making a fool of myself.
I didn't intend to sound so critical of the island infrastructure!
The island is expected to take a direct hit overnight. I very
much hope that at least the barracks and houses aren’t
too heavily damaged. There are many people who have called Wake
their home for over 20 years and were likely forced to leave
most of their worldly possessions when we evacuated.
Visit back soon for pictures of my recent trip to Wake (hopefully
it won't be the last, depending on just how much damage the
island sustains), along with satellite and surface data from
the storm. For now, I leave you with the news clip (have mercy
on the quality, I only had my point-and-shoot camera with me),
one crazy terminal forecast, and measurements taken by the NOAA
tide station with the eye center only about 43 miles to the
- A few examples of satellite imagery that we've been generating
of Ioke at the Kwajalein weather station can be found
- Honolulu CBS affiliate 6 PM news broadcast from August
28, 2006. Now that's what I call a "boob tube"!
- Here's the Wake terminal forecast (TAF) from 2222Z 30
August. Look at that - sustained winds of 95 knots (110
MPH), gusting to 150 knots (172 MPH)!
PWAK 302222 01035G55KT 1600 TSRA SCT005
OVC020CB 560009 560901 QNH2900INS
BECMG 0506 34050G75KT 0100 +TSRA BLPY BKN005 OVC020CB 5X0009
BECMG 1011 34095G150KT 0100 +TSRA BLPY BKN005 OVC010CB 5X0009
BECMG 1718 16065G95KT 0100 +TSRA BLPY BKN005 OVC010CB 5X0009
BECMG 2021 20060G90KT 0400 +TSRA BLPY BKN005 OVC020CB 5X0009
5X0901 QNH2890INS T27/11Z T26/09Z LIMITED METWATCH 3022 TIL
- Here are graphs of observations made by the Wake Island
NOAA tide station as the eye was approaching from just 43
miles to the SE. Click image to enlarge. This was the last
valid data sent by the sensor suite before it sustained
damage and began sending questionable data.
- Update - September 7, 2006: The first batch of aerial
photographs from Coast Guard reconnaissance aircraft has
been released by the Air Force, and thankfully, they show
that the island sustained less damage than expected. (link1,
- STY Ioke was certainly one for the record books! Ioke
- The first Category 5 hurricane ever to form in the
Central Pacific and reach that intensity while still
in the Central Pacific.
- The most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Central
Pacific with an estimated minimum central pressure of
920 mbar (27.179 inHg).
- Tied Hurricane Emilia of 1994 by reaching Category
5 status twice as hurricanes in the northern Pacific
east of the International Date Line. Ioke would go on
to restrengthen to a Category 5-equivalent typhoon.
- Spent longer at Category 4 and higher than any other
Central or East Pacific hurricane with a total of 34
(31 consecutive) 6-hourly reports at that strength.
The previous record was held by Hurricane Paka with
27 (25 consecutive) 6-hourly reports.