East Island: Remote Hawaiian island wiped out by devastating hurricane

Hawaiian Island erased by one of 2018's many Cat 5 storms

Hurricane swallows Hawaii island whole

Fletcher and his colleagues were researching East Island via drone devices and sand and coral samples.

"According to recent satellite images, there have been significant changes to French Frigate Shoals", Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument said in a statement.

Hawaii's East Island vanished overnight after being walloped by Hurricane Walaka.

For now, it is unclear whether East Island will reappear.

Thousands of animals inhabiting the island, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green turtles, are expected to have been wiped out across the island.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows before-and-after images of the island, and the difference will shock you.

"I had a holy shit moment, thinking 'Oh my God, it's gone, '" said Fletcher, who had conducted research on the island in July.

The low-lying island, with its sandy composition, wasn't much of a match for the storm in early October, which started off as a Category 5 hurricane and created large storm swells, Clark said.

The Hawaiian monk seals - there's only about 1,400 of them left in the world - spend most of their time on the island lying under the sun and resting on its beaches.

He added to The Guardian: "We wanted to monitor the island so we are disappointed it has gone, but on the other hand we have learned these islands are far more at risk than we thought". It is also home to the Hawaiian green sea turtle, which is a threatened species.

He was the second-largest island in French Frat-shoals is the largest Atoll of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

"It's one more chink in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled".

The same French Frigate Shoals used to serve as the main breeding ground for the seals.

"The take-home message is climate change is real and it's happening now", Randy Kosaki, NOAA's deputy superintendent of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, told Honolulu Civil Beat.

Scientists say the storm's massive surge, as well as rising sea levels resulting from climate change, factored into the island's disappearance.

Charles Littnan, the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's protected species division, told HuffPost that it will take years to assess the ramifications of the island's loss.

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