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National Hurricane Center's 5-day forecast from Sept. 8, 2018 for Hurricane Florence. Image: NHC

When it comes to hurricane track forecasts, the one that the National Hurricane Center issued for Hurricane Florence at 11 p.m. on September 8 may go down in history as the most accurate 5-day forecast they've ever issued — just 2 miles off target in the center of the "cone of uncertainty."

Why it matters: The average 5-day error is closer to 250 miles, to put that in perspective. The forecast provided residents of the Carolinas with 5 days of lead time to prepare for the storm, and alerted governors and emergency managers to start moving assets into position to respond to the storm.

Between the lines: Statistically, hurricane track forecasts have been steadily improving over time as more powerful computer models come online and hurricane forecasters utilize their research aircraft and other tools to determine where a storm is most likely to go. In the case of Hurricane Florence, even though the storm took a track unlike any other such storm in history, the NHC still accurately forecast it.

Yes, but: The fact that this prediction was off by just 2 miles doesn't mean that future track forecasts should be taken as gospel. Two-thirds of the time, the NHC's 5-day forecast for a hurricane's track is 198 nautical miles, or 227 miles, off target.

The bottom line: Hurricane Florence's forecast was a major success story that isn't likely to be replicated with every subsequent storm. However, the trend in track errors is downward with each passing year, so someday, perhaps every storm will be forecast this accurately.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

12 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 14 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.