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The leading edge of Hurricane Florence has arrived in North Carolina, and live footage coming from a light tower located over 30 miles off the coast is showing just how ferocious the storm is.
CBS News reported Thursday afternoon that Florence was a Category 2 with winds upward of 80 mph.
Forecasts are calling for as much as 40 inches of rain over the next several days to fall in portions of North and South Carolina.
Live footage from the Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower, located 39 miles off the tip of Cape Fear, shows the intensity of the storm.
The eye of Florence is forecast to pass near the tower, which normally operates as a bed and breakfast, The Outer Banks Voice reported.
The video feed showed a torn American flag being battered by high winds.
CNN news editor Kyle Feldscher tweeted, “The people who own the Frying Pan Tower, where that incredible live stream of the flag in the middle of Florence is coming from, are taking hell from people for violating the flag code. Their response? ‘Uh, we evacuated and this is a hurricane, guys.’”
According to the American Legion, the U.S. Code provides, “The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.”
The people who own the Frying Pan Tower, where that incredible live stream of the flag in the middle of Florence is coming from, are taking hell from people for violating the flag code. Their response? "Uh, we evacuated and this is a hurricane, guys." https://t.co/TKdqhBGOuB pic.twitter.com/vKv6v9Wddb
— Kyle Feldscher (@Kyle_Feldscher) September 13, 2018
The owners of the tower responded to the criticism tweeting, “Hey folks, the last time we were out, we put up a new flag. With respect, we will retire and replace it next trip.”
“We see the tears and know that good men and women fought for America and are honored to fly old glory!” they added. “Please understand, this is a hurricane. We are not on the tower and can’t go outside and replace it yet.”
Over 5 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings and watches, CBS News reported.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged those in his state not to become complacent just because the wind speeds have dropped from their recent highs of 140 mph.
“Please hear my message,” Cooper said. “We cannot underestimate this storm.”
“Don’t relax; don’t get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill,” he said.
Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged
significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas
and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week,
as #Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and
moves inland. pic.twitter.com/07tqIAreuJ
— NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) September 13, 2018
The National Weather Center warned, “Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week.”