Arthur may have been a Category 2 hurricane, but Richard Neal, of Mint Hill, N.C., stirred up an even bigger storm on social media Thursday by riding out a direct hit from inside an old U.S. Coast Guard Tower about 35 miles east of Wrightsville Beach.
Neal bought the station, which was abandoned by the Coast Guard more than 30 years ago, in 2010, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. He converted it into a bed-and-breakfast called Frying Pan Tower.
Neal chronicled his adventure Thursday through Facebook updates:
3:40 pm: Almost windy here, 82mph at 3:35pm, finally have time for breakfast. Maybe I’ll have some scrambled eggs. Hmm.
5:37 pm: We just entered the eye of Arthur! Winds peaked at 99 mph! NOAA Buoy #16 just slid past us heading towards the Wrightsville beaches!
At 6:27: The NOAA buoy is normally 1000 yards to the SE of us. It went sliding past us towards Wrightsville beach a few minutes ago!
6:41 pm: Earlier today when Arthur’s noose was closing around us, this is what 99mph looked like from the helipad. [“Invigorating!”]
9:03 pm: Oh, that NOAA buoy that was traveling to Wrighstville Beach? It’s coming back now and is traveling to the East!
Sounds like things got a little crazy out there on the ocean. But the inhabitants of Frying Pan Tower, whom the Facebook feed says are Neal, three of his kids and a close friend, seem to be no worse for wear.
A photo of a cup of coffee surrounded by calm blue waters and a pink-and-yellow sunrise was posted at 6:26 this morning.
You can follow Laurel Dalrymple on Facebook at: facebook.com/laurelmdalrymple