CAPE FEAR, North Carolina (NEXSTAR) — A live camera from Explore.org atop the Frying Pan Tower, a lighthouse at the end of the Frying Pan Shoals in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is documenting Hurricane Florence’s approach toward the East Coast.
Thursday afternoon, the American flag flying atop the lighthouse, located 34 miles from the coast, ripped from Florence’s wind. As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, Florence remains a Category 2 Hurricane with winds of 100 mph.
The lighthouse, according to a website by the owner of the tower, who purchased it in 2010, is at the “southernmost end of the feared “Graveyard of the Atlantic” which stretches up to the northern end of the Outer Banks of N.C.”
The site says a lightship was stationed at the location in 1854, as the shallow waters of the shoals made ship navigation especially treacherous. In 1960, construction began on a permanent steel structure–a modified Texas drilling platform called a “Texas Tower”–that was designed to provide housing and support for the light that was manned 24/7 until it was automated in 1979.
The Coast Guard abandoned the station in 2004 after GPS and radar made the tower’s purpose obsolete.
You can stay in the tower overnight, but, you have to get there by boat or by helicopter. Check out how to book a 2-night stay in the Frying Pan Tower here.