Update 9/14, 9:30 a.m.: The power failed overnight at the Frying Pan. Currently, the webcam is not showing a live feed, but webcam highlights unrelated to Hurricane Florence.
As Hurricane Florence begins to deliver lashing winds and pelting rain to the Carolinas, hundreds of thousands of residents have fled for drier ground. A camera mounted to the top of the Frying Pan Tower—a rusted, retired Coast Guard light station marking dangerous shoals—is streaming the sight they left behind.
The Frying Pan stands 34 miles from North Carolina’s Cape Fear, in water 50 feet deep. Overnight, the National Weather Service forecasts that wind in the area could gust up to 85 knots (or nearly 98 miles per hour), with seas swelling up to 20 feet. Water may surge inland all the way from Virginia down to the edge of Georgia.
The camera mounted on the Frying Pan—which, in less-ferocious weather, now functions as a hotel—is capturing all the squall and spray in real time. The stream is hosted on Explore.org, and shows the awesome power of the storm. Through a rain-smeared lens, you’ll see the gray-green, white-capped waves, and a flag tattered by the the wind—an onslaught of air so loud and constant that it stops sounding like anything but noise. The storm has sharp teeth. Happily, no one is staying at the Frying Pan right now (on Facebook, the tower’s custodians noted that they’ll be back when things calm down, and will retire the battered flag). For now, the camera is alone up there, facing down the breath of the wailing, wild wind.