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Hurricane Walaka Virtually Wipes Small Hawaiian Island Off Map

By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) - Pictures released this week from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife show massive devastation from a powerful hurricane that hit some of Hawaii's remote islands in early October.

(credit: NOAA)

Hurricane Walaka made a direct hit on part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument known as French Frigate Shoals, about 550 miles northwest of Honolulu.

The storm moved through the region as a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but it peaked as a powerful Category 5 just two days prior.

East Island, Hawaii
(credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife)

Satellite images show significant changes to Tern Island with East Island virtually underwater.

Both islands are critical nesting grounds for threatened green sea turtles and endangered monk seals.

A Facebook post by the Pacific Islands division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife says officials will assess damage and impacts to wildlife during an upcoming mission to the remote region.

French Frigate Shoals
Monk seals resting on the sand in an area of Hawaii known as French Frigate Shoals. (credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife)

Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado's weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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