A US military base was pummeled with rogue waves from a storm surge on the Marshall Islands

A US military base was pummeled with rogue waves from a storm surge on the Marshall Islands
a woman holds a sign that says "Kwaj loves our Roi Rats," referring to residents of the Kwajalein Island and Roi-Namur Island, respectively
A Kwaj resident shows her support for the displaced individuals from Roi-Namur, who are affectionately called Roi Rats.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS
  • Weather-driven waves flooded an area of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Saturday.

  • A US Army-Garrison base on the island of Roi-Namur was inundated with water.

  • Viral video of the flood shows the doors of a local bar being broken down by the sudden swells.

A storm surge on Saturday sent rogue waves in the south Pacific, swamping a US Army-Garrison facility on the Marshall Islands.

US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll and the US Space and Missile Defense Command's Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site operate on Roi-Namur island, the second-largest island of the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2,000 miles from Hawaii.

Photos show the extensive damage to the base's facilities, home to about 120 people, by the sudden swells.

'Get out of here'

debris is scattered amid water inside a cafe
The Café Roi dining facility was heavily flooded in the storm.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Shocking viral video captured heavy flooding on the US military base around 9 p.m. Saturday night.

A surge of water broke down the front doors of a local restaurant, the Outrigger Bar and Grill, flooding the building and causing some people inside to lose their footing under the waves.

Erik Hanson, a scuba instructor on the Marshall Islands, posted the video on Instagram, saying the flooding was caused by a "combination of wind, tides, and swell direction."

"Get out of here," a voice on the video is heard saying before the lights in the building cut out.

Rogue waves

debris is seen at the base of palm trees as a soldier takes a photo of the damage
Containers were tossed across Roi-Namur by the storm surge.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

The flooding appeared to be caused by rare "rogue waves," according to CNN's meteorologist Robert Shackelford. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes a rogue wave as "steep-sided with unusually deep troughs," and reports say they look like "walls of water."

"The impacts of these waves are also more strongly felt across low-lying islands, which includes the Marshall Islands," Shackelford said, adding that the climate crisis is rising sea levels that, in turn, expose more areas to storm surge.

Aerial view of the damage

an aerial view of the central part of roi-namur
An aerial photo shows extensive flooding in the central portion of Roi-Namur.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Aircrews assessed the damage on the island from above, posting the video to the base's Facebook page showing the water inundating the northwest side of Roi-Namur.

At least a third of the island was covered in water.

Buildings underwater

the hood of a red vehicle is visible surrounded by puddles of water with a damaged maintenance shop in the background
The Machine Maintenance Shop on Roi-Namur was flooded and rendered inoperable.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Runways were covered with water, and buildings — including the base's housing, dining facilities, outdoor theater, military retail store, and church — were damaged in the flood.

All of the automotive warehouse complex also remains underwater.

Operation Roi Recovery

debris from a building is seen among the rocks and trees next to a damaged church steeple
The Roi-Namur church steeple rests on the coral-strewn grounds on the opposite side of the Tradewinds Theater.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

In a video posted to Facebook on Monday, Col. Drew Morgan, commander of US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll, said the north point of Roi-Namur was hit with "a series of unpredicted, gigantic waves" that caused "extensive damage" and a few minor injuries.

About 80 personnel on the island were evacuated following the surge. A team of 60 remain to continue to assess the damage and start restoring utilities.

"Clearing the runway on Roi-Namur and assessing its safety is our top priority now that we have evacuated personnel not required for the initial response efforts," Morgan said in a statement. "Once the runway is open, we can move people and equipment back and forth to start the recovery process."

'We're showing the world that we are truly one team'

people exiting a boat are greeted by an army commander in uniform
Kwajalein Atoll Commander Col. Drew Morgan welcomes Roi-Namur evacuees to Kwajalein Island.US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Morgan said the recovery efforts could take "months or even years" to complete as crews continue to assess the damage from over the weekend.

"This is going to go down in Kwaj's history books as one of its most challenging times ever in its 80-year history," he said.

"Remember, we are important to our nation's security, and this is our home," he continued. "We're showing the world that we are truly one team."

Read the original article on Business Insider