Virginia resident's live streams went viral during the storm.

Some say storm chaser Daniel Cooper was a helper during Hurricane Florence, while public officials say he was a safety liability.

The Virginia resident who storm chases in his spare time as a hobby drove around Topsail Island in the hours during and directly after Florence, live streaming hours of his experience on Facebook at the Virginia Preparedness page.

On Sept. 14, Cooper live streamed for hours driving around the island in daylight with more than 9,000 comments and hundreds of thousands of views. In that video, Cooper went to different homes and neighborhoods as commenters flooded in asking him to check on specific properties. He live streamed as the Belle of Topsail started to sink in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Surf City swing bridge. The video was shared thousands of times by people hoping to catch a glimpse of their property and on local Facebook groups for island residents.

"You're a hero to many who were having anxiety, trapped in the unknown," one person wrote.

Comments poured in asking for his PayPal information so folks could send him a monetary thank you. Sunday, Oct. 7, nearly a dozen people came to a meet and greet in Surf City to thank him and ask him questions.

"A lot of people were very gracious for what I did. Topsail is a very uplifting and supportive community," Cooper said, adding he has been an amateur storm chaser for seven years now in Virginia.

During one of the live streams, law enforcement officers stopped Cooper and asked him to leave the island, telling him of the mandatory evacuation.

"We were not real happy with that and did not like what he was doing," said Topsail Beach mayor Howard Braxton. Braxton said next time he hopes storm chasers like Cooper will communicate with town officials beforehand.

Surf City mayor Doug Medlin said Cooper did break the law by being on the island after curfew and during a mandatory evacuation as a non-resident.

"There shouldn't have been anyone on the island and we were not allowing people on, but once those photos got out, people thought we let him on and got upset," Medlin said.

Reporter Ashley Morris can be reached at