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How scientists track Hurricane Florence with a ‘forecast cone’

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FEMA Warns Residents to ‘take Action Now’ with an Edge of Dangerous Hurricane Florence

As Hurricane Florence steadily makes his way in the direction of the southeast of the US, meteorologists have issued repeated warnings of the expected rainfall, flooding, high intensity of the wind and even mudslides.

The storm — which is said to be life-threatening and a once-in-a-generation event for the residents in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states — has also led officials to issue mandatory evacuation of the coastal areas of North and South Carolina, and Virginia, affecting an estimated 1 million people.

This photo provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, as it threatens the US east coast

(AP/NASA)

But, how exactly do scientists know how close the storm is and where it’s going?

HURRICANE FLORENCE PATH: THE TRACK OF THE STORM HERE

Every few hours, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides up to date information about the storm and the projected path by the use of the NHC’s “forecast cone.”

The cone, which stands for the “probable track of the center of a tropical storm” is “formed by enclosing the area swept out by a set of circles along the forecast track (at 12, 24, 36 hours, etc.)” the NHC says on its website.

The cone “try to take in some of the uncertainty and show all the areas of risk,” Joel Cline, a meteorologist and tropical storm coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told Fox News Tuesday.

“Instead of showing a single, final line of a track, the cone takes care of two-third of the possible to follow,” he said.

In other words, scientists recognize that their predictions are not 100% accurate and are subject to change.

The map shows the likely path of Hurricane Florence.

(AP)

Cline used the analogy of a ball and a velcro mitt to explain how the accuracy of the meteorologists ‘ forecasts to improve as the storm comes closer. The ball has a greater chance of hitting and sticking to the center of the mitt if the player is closer to the catcher. The same applies to predicting the path of tropical storms.

“Things [can be] uncertain, especially this far out. But as he comes closer, the security is better,” he said. “Our chance will be able to determine the place of impact is greater if the storm comes closer.”

For the development of a forecast cone, scientists look at a variety of models that determine the path of the storm will probably take.

HURRICANE FLORENCE TO ACTIVATE MUDSLIDES? WHY THE STORM IS THE POTENTIAL EFFECT HAS SCIENTISTS ON THE EDGE

Scientists compare with the models, looking for similarities. The more consistent the models are with each other, the narrower the cone can be, according to The Baltimore Sun. For the most up-to-date forecast cone during the day, scientists are constantly analyzing the storm and wind speed, among other factors, the newspaper.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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