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I was sent to Wake Island in December 2006 as part of a 5-member team from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein to survey damage sustained by Super Typhoon Ioke (August 2006). The loss of trees and foliage was remarkable, as was the amount of sand and coral that had washed over the island. Although many of the weaker wood and sheet metal buildings sustained major damage, I was surprised at just how well the concrete structures fared, considering Ioke's winds were sustained at 140 kt. With a record-breaking (for the Central Pacific) central pressure of 920 mb (27.179 inHg), the pressure drop was so rapid that cans of food on the island exploded due to the pressure differential!

The facilities were only capable of supporting 50 people, far short of the approximately 170 pre-typhoon residents. The Air Force was planning to allow another 50 residents back on the island in January 2007.

Flying in on ATI's DC-8 Southern Shore Workers had to remove a lot of sand off the eastern end of the runway. "Downtown"
This motor gas fuel tank was empty at the time of Ioke's landfall, making it light enough for the typhoon to tip it over. There isn't much left of the golf clubhouse.


The sunsets are just as beautiful! Trees are unable to root deeply into the coral, making them more susceptible to wind damage.
Albatross On October 15, 1950, President Truman met with General MacArthur on Wake Island to voice his concerns over the possibility of China entering the war.  Read more at the Truman Presidential Library web site. The gantry building protects missiles from the elements. This is what's left of one of the clam shells, which are also used to protect missiles from the elements
The trees near the channel outside the mess hall took a pounding! 


Two walls were stripped off from this building. The terminal building The terminal building was in surprisingly good shape.
A few of the terminal building doors were forced open by the wind, allowing sand and water to rush into the lobby. The sunsets are just as beautiful! Sand was piled up to the windows around Drifter's Reef, the island bar.  The condemned theater in the foreground was destroyed by the typhoon. The weather balloon shelter will likely need to be demolished and rebuilt.
This World War II bunker is normally used to store helium for weather balloons. Fierce winds stripped away the wood doors and storm surge filled the bunker with debris.  If you look closely in the far right, you can see just how high the storm surge reached. Part of the wood door was embedded in the concrete wall. The trees near the channel outside the mess hall took a pounding!
This piece of wood may have been part of the USGS seismic monitoring station. This church is located between the terminal building and the ocean.  You can see just how much sand and coral was washed onto the island by the storm surge. Storm surge peeled up the carpet and moved the pews around. I found this sheet music on the church floor.
The cleanup continues... Skylights are now featured in the barracks, though I'm not sure I'd consider that an upgrade. This is one of the barrack's common/day rooms.  We stayed in these barracks just before we were evacuated in August 2006. Although a great deal of Wake’s bird population was killed by the typhoon, the number of indigenous birds such as the albatross, red-tailed tropic birds (shown above), and turns are slowly returning to normal.
Although a great deal of Wake’s bird population was killed by the typhoon, the number of indigenous birds such as the albatross, red-tailed tropic birds (shown above), and turns are slowly returning to normal. Lone Palm The hard housing area before the typhoon (above) and after the typhoon (below).  


The concrete pavilion and BBQ pit behind Drifter's Reef was destroyed by the wind and waves.
Many of the industrial buildings sustained major damage. Many of the industrial buildings sustained major damage. Bulldozers were required to clear away the massive amounts of coral and sand that piled up on the ocean-side service road. These concrete blocks that has once formed a sea wall were tossed around like wooden blocks.
Here you can see just how massive the concrete blocks are! The metal boat is still around! The downtown church lit up for Christmas The Drifer's Reef patio before the typhoon (above) and after (below).
The bowling alley sustained major damage and will likely be demolished. The bar is still functional! The first-wave responders had to construct and use outhouses until water service was restored.  

 

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