With Hurricane Florence heading for the Carolina coast, the FAA is warning unauthorized drone operators to stay out of the skies around areas impacted by the storm even if no Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The agency emphasized that unauthorized flights during and after the storm could disrupt emergency response flights, which often operate at low altitudes. Fines for such interference can run up to $20,000.
The FAA is also strongly encouraging private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to support hurricane response efforts “to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate.” In addition, the agency is asking GA pilots planning to fly to pay close attention to weather conditions as the hurricane approaches.
Hurricane Florence is expected to reach the Carolinas on Thursday and crawl along the coast through Saturday. The storm is currently a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 MPH.