HONOLULU – Typhoon Ioke knocked out Wake Island's weather sensors on Thursday as it lashed the isle with some of the central Pacific's fiercest winds in over a decade, the National Weather Service said.
Forecasters monitoring the 2.5-square-mile atoll's wind and temperature gauges from Hawaii said the instruments blew out as the storm approached with winds of up to 155 miles per hour and gusts of up to 190 mph.
The most recent data before the instruments failed indicated Ioke slammed the island with 78 mph winds and 100 mph gusts, said Henry Lau, a National Weather Service forecaster in Honolulu. That was before Ioke's eye passed north of Wake Island, he said.
The Air Force evacuated all the roughly 200 residents of the isolated atoll on Monday before the "super typhoon" neared. Only troops, Defense Department civilian employees and military contractors live on the island.
The storm is currently heading northwest toward Japan and is expected to weaken in the coming days.
Ioke is the first Category 5 hurricane to develop in the central Pacific since record keeping began in the early 1960s and is the most powerful storm to pass through the region since hurricanes Emilia and Gilma, both in July 1994.
Wake Island is a U.S. military refueling and research station about 2,300 miles west of Honolulu and 1,510 miles east of Guam.