Typhoon Ioke bound for Japan after slamming Wake Island
The storm that slammed into Wake Island earlier this week has been downgraded from a super typhoon but still packs considerable punch as it heads toward central Japan, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
By Saturday afternoon, Typhoon Ioke, with wind speeds of 132 miles per hour, was almost 1,500 miles east-southeast of Tokyo.
“At this time we’re still evaluating whether it will hit land,” said Capt. Jason Blackerby, typhoon duty officer for the center. “We believe the more likely scenario is that it brushes by just to the east of Japan.”
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Ioke was 1,350 miles east-southeast of Tokyo, moving west-northwest at 17 mph, packing sustained winds of 127 mph and gusts of up to 155 at its center. If it remains on its forecast track, Ioke will pass 130 miles east of Yokosuka Naval Base at 2 a.m. Thursday with sustained winds of 92 mph and gusts up to 104 at its center.
“It will still be formidable,” Blackerby said.
Ioke was at super-typhoon strength when it pummeled Wake Island on Thursday. Damage had yet to be assessed Saturday but weather officials had predicted that the storm would demolish anything not made of concrete.
Wake, an atoll with an airstrip between the Marianas Islands and Hawaii, has served for decades as a way station for U.S. forces. Evacuated off the island last week before the typhoon hit were about 200 people, most of them from the small U.S. military detachment that has been stationed there.
Maj. Clare Reed, spokeswoman for the 15th Airlift Wing at Hickam Air Force Base in nearby Hawaii, said Friday that a fly-over assessment would be conducted at some point over the weekend to see what remained of the airfield and the island.