Small Hawaiian Island Devoured By Hurricane

Home to seabirds, seals, turtles

Gone.

Vanished.

Not there anymore.

Hawaii’s East Island was wiped out this month by Hurricane Walaka.

It was not quite a kilometre long and just 122 metres wide but was home to seabirds and tiger sharks and endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles – for whom the island was a vital habitat.

Walaka – a category three hurricane, with wind speeds of up to 200kph –  came within 50 kilometres of the west of the island. It had been part of the French Frigate Shoals, an atoll in the far western reaches of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Satellite images taken before and after the storm show the island has almost entirely vanished.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo

U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo