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Expand chart
Data: National Hurricane Center; Chart: Chris Canipe and Laz Gamio/Axios

Hurricane Florence is on track for an unprecedented collision with the Carolinas, where it threatens to bring a deadly mix of storm surge flooding, high winds and catastrophic inland flooding.

The big picture: Florence is a nightmare of a storm: It's unusually large, contains waves towering to at least 83 feet, and is preparing to push a virtual wall of water onto the coastlines of North and South Carolina. The surge will not behave the same way residents of coastal communities there are used to. Instead, it may hammer the coast of North Carolina for 24 hours or more, and then slide from northeast to southwest, down into South Carolina, as the storm meanders.

The details: The experts at the National Hurricane Center are wrestling with a greater amount of uncertainty than they typically face so close to landfall. This is because the storm will move into an area with weak steering currents, causing it to meander or stall for a time.

The graphic above illustrates the evolution of the Hurricane Center's storm track maps and the "cone of uncertainty." It shows the shifts that have occurred as computer models try to lock onto the fickle movement of the storm near and after landfall.

Be smart: Florence is unusually large for a major landfalling hurricane, with impacts extending hundreds of miles from the center. This means that focusing on the centerline of track forecasts can be a bit deceiving.

The impacts: The projected storm track as of Wednesday afternoon would cause potentially catastrophic damage to coastal North and South Carolina, and would spread misery far inland from devastating amounts of rain. Up to 3 feet of rain or more is forecast in North and South Carolina, and this plume of moisture may extend further north or south, depending on the storm's final path.

Track the most up-to-date forecast information and analysis here.

Go deeper: Hurricane Florence to cause "unbelievable destruction" in Carolinas.

The ties between Hurricane Florence and climate change.

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

11 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.