This lighthouse camera lets you livestream Hurricane Florence’s advance on the Carolinas

If you are fortunate enough to never have been affected by a hurricane, it can be hard to wrap your head around the force of this type of storm.

Thanks to a camera positioned on a lighthouse off the North Carolina coast, you can get a sense of the storm’s intensity without having to be anywhere near it.

The camera is located on the Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower, an out-of-use Coast Guard light tower located 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Explore Oceans, an organization focused on capturing ocean life in real time, has been livestreaming video of the approaching storm from this camera since Thursday morning.

Tuning into the stream on YouTube gives you a sense of the strength of the hurricane, and you can see the wind and waves progress over the course of the stream. The sound of the wind is deafening, and an American flag in the camera’s sights has already begun to fray.

While the eye of the Category 2 hurricane isn’t expected to reach land until Friday morning, heavy winds, rain and rising water are expected to threaten the coast as early as Thursday afternoon.

Officials in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia have declared states of emergency in preparation for the hurricane’s arrival, according to CNN. A state of emergency allows a government to circumvent usual processes that may slow down its ability to mobilize emergency service response teams after a catastrophic event, which Florence is expected to be. Evacuation orders affecting nearly a million residents along the coast have also been issued.

While coastal areas are expected to suffer the worst damage, the effects of the storm may be felt as far west as Nashville.

If you’d like to help with relief efforts, the American Red Cross is already preparing its response.

As for the Frying Pan Shoals Tower? In addition to hosting this well-positioned camera, the tower’s been converted to a bed and breakfast where adventurous guests can sign up to stay (during non-hurricane conditions, of course).