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Flags And Extreme Weather: Lessons From Frying Pan Tower And Hurricane Florence

Written by
Jenny Jolly
Published on
September 14, 2018 at 8:26:00 PM PDT September 14, 2018 at 8:26:00 PM PDTth, September 14, 2018 at 8:26:00 PM PDT

Hurricane Florence is not over yet, and it has already brought much devastation to coastal North Carolina. As the weekend approaches, our thoughts are with our already-affected neighbors to the East as we prepare for several days of heavy rainfall in central North Carolina. 


Carrot-Top Industries’ corporate office is located in Hillsborough, NC, about 3.5 hours from the coast, where Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday morning. Like many Americans, we at Carrot-Top have been keeping a close watch on the storm and preparing for the havoc to come. On Thursday morning, we tuned-in to the Explore Oceans live cam at Frying Pan Tower on Cape Fear to watch as Hurricane Florence’s unlikely mascot—a lone American flag affectionately nicknamed “Kevin”—waited out the storm atop its post, a surplus U.S. Coast Guard light station (Frying Pan Tower) located 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina.


All day long, we watched in anticipation as increasing winds took a toll on the flag, ripping and fraying its ends until it was completely destroyed. As advocates of the U.S. flag code, it was upsetting for us to see the damage to the flag at Frying Pan Tower. As North Carolinians, it was even more devastating to learn about the damage to our beautiful coast, and the ongoing effects that our neighbors will continue to bear over the next few days as Florence continues her path inland.


The Frying Pan Tower flag is a symbol (and a reality check) on mother nature’s fierce strength and potential. Having a very-real visual representation of the destruction inclement weather can wreak on a flag has also been a staggering reminder on the importance of proper flag etiquette. Take a look at our screenshot timeline depicting the devastation that happened to the U.S. flag at Frying Pan Tower over the course of a few hours.


Frying Pan Tower Flag at 9 a.m.  

Frying Pan Tower Flag at 1 p.m. 

Frying Pan Tower Flag at 3 p.m. 

Frying Pan Tower Flag at 5 p.m. 

Frying Pan Tower Flag at 7 p.m. 


The U.S. Flag Code and Inclement Weather

Official U.S. flag code states, “The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.”


As long-time flag experts, we completely stand behind our made in the U.S.A. Beacon® and Patriarch® lines of all-weather flags, which is why we offer a solid 6-month guarantee against defects, fading, and tearing. However, hurricanes and other natural disasters are not considered “all weather”. All weather nylon flags are rated for wind gusts, not constant high wind speeds. So, as a best practice, we recommend you always retire your flag in preparation for extreme weather conditions.


Guidelines for All-Weather Flags and Flagpoles

It is important to know that our flags and flagpoles are separately rated for weather conditions. Our Beacon® line of flags are constructed of durable, quick-drying nylon, appropriate for all weather use in light to moderate wind areas. Our Patriarch® line of polyester flags are ideal for all weather use in high wind areas, especially coastal areas. We do not recommend displaying cotton U.S. flags outdoors in all weather as these flags will typically bleed when wet.


Flag construction is another important point to consider when buying and displaying a U.S. flag. All U.S. flags from Carrot-Top are made in the U.S.A., which means they are of the best quality available. Our all-weather flags are reinforced with canvas headers, reinforced stitching on the fly-end, and interlocking stitching throughout, for added durability.


However, when it comes to extreme weather, flagpoles are rated differently as they are considered a permanent installation. As we saw with “Kevin”, the U.S. flag at frying pan tower, a pristine-looking flag was demolished in a matter of hours, but the flagpole stood tall over sustained hours of hurricane-force winds.


As a general guideline (and if you want your insurance to cover your flagpole in the event of damage in inclement weather), look for a flagpole with at least a wall thickness of .188. Many coastal towns and cities have regulations on flagpole thickness, so if you are looking to install a new flagpole, we would recommend checking your city or town’s code of ordinances. We also recommend checking out our handy Flagpole Buying Guide for more information about finding the right flagpole for your needs. 


At Carrot-Top, we’ve been in the business of providing the best-quality flags and flagpoles to military institutions, government agencies, towns, cities, schools, businesses, and individuals across the United States since 1980. Do not hesitate to contact us at 800-628-3524 with any questions about anything to do with flags, flagpoles, and flag etiquette.  

About the Author

Jenny Jolly | jjolly@carrot-top.com

Carrot-Top Staff Writer, Jenny Jolly, has been blogging and writing for businesses since 2008. A self-proclaimed "Army brat", Jolly grew up on military bases overseas before settling back in her family's home state of North Carolina. "Growing up a bi-cultural American has taught me to appreciate the diversity of our great nation. Having experienced other cultures firsthand has also given me valuable perspective on what it means to be American—to love your country, to value your rights and freedoms, and to fully embrace the ideal of the American Dream," she said. It is her honor to serve Carrot-Top Industries in the shared goal of providing American-made U.S. flags and patriotic, special event, and custom-made products to military institutions, service member families, government agencies, schools, businesses, and individuals across the United States. 

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