As hurricanes form, move and affect land, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center puts out suspected storm tracks to keep those that could be hit in the know. These 'Cones of Concern' tabulate computer models and raw data to predict where the storm might go.
The reason these 'Cones of Concern' are billed as such is that they're not a set science. The storm could move ANYWHERE inside the cone. And, because the tracks are made up of raw data that can at times be better than others, sometimes the cone is wider than it is at other times.
Hurricane Florence, currently whipping the North Carolina coast with rain and tropical storm-force winds, is a storm whose "5-day track" is a more than a little up in the air.
In fact, the 'Cone of Concern' for the storm come Monday and Tuesday has some rather interesting possibilities. Currently, the storm is expected to hit the coast near Wilmington as a Category 2 storm. Then it'll chug along land until becoming a Tropical Storm Saturday morning in South Carolina.
As the storm moves more and more inland, it's projected to become a Tropical Depression over western South Carolina Sunday morning.
Then things get off-the-wall crazy. Like Gnarls Barkley crazy.
The storm, by Monday morning, could either be rolling up against the Piedmont Trial or roving along the Kentucky-Virginia state line and anywhere in between. Then, come Sunday, things get even wilder! The storm could either:
1. Be tapping up against Detroit, Michigan
2. Florence might grab her passport and roll up on Toronto's southern edge
3. Be less than 100 miles from New York City
4. Hit Atlantic City in New Jersey.
Seriously - this storm has no idea what it wants to do or where it wants to go. Now, it's important to note the NHC thinks the storm will only be a tropical depression, bringing rains and winds lower than 39 mph.
And that's even if the storm continues along its current track. Any meteorologist worth their salt will tell you to never bet the line. Even Florence took a sharp turn and threw all previous path projections in the trash.
But still, the fact that Florence even MIGHT brush up against our northern neighbor just goes to show the staying power and force the storm could potentially carry onto the Carolinas.