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Damaged cars that were swept away by floodwaters piled on an expressway on July 22 in Zhengzhou, China. Photo: Bai Zhoufeng/VCG via Getty Images

Flooding from torrential rain in China's Henan province has killed at least 33 people this week and eight more remain missing, according to CNN.

The big picture: Flooding has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and led to at least 1.22 billion yuan (around $190 million) in damage across the province, which is home to more than 99 million people.

Flooding was particularly damaging in Zhengzhou, Henan's capital, where at least 12 people died after being trapped in an overflowing subway.

  • Another four people died in a village near Gongyi, a city west of Zhengzhou, according to the New York Times.

By the numbers: Zhengzhou saw 31.02 inches of rainfall in three days, which is roughly 15 months' of worth of precipitation, according to meteorologist Jonathan Erdman of the Weather Channel.

  • Eight of those inches fell in just one hour, which set a national record rainfall rate and compares to some of the highest one-hour totals globally.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Studies show that as the planet warms due to human activities — such as the burning of fossil fuels for energy — heavy precipitation events are becoming more likely and more severe.

  • This was on display in Henan, as well as in Europe, where devastating flooding hit several countries, including Germany.

What's next: The death toll is expected to rise as rescue operations continue, and landslides and widespread damage to buildings have hampered searches.

In photos:
Firefighters rescuing people in Zhengzhou on July 22. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Damaged vehicles stuck in a muddy road in Gongyi city on July 22. Photo: Jade Gao/AFP via Getty Images
A person carrying a bag through a flooded street in Gongyi on July 22. Photo: Jade Gao/AFP via Getty Images
People talking in a destroyed street in Gongyi on July 22. Photo: Jade Gao/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Oct 28, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Des Moines' record October rainfall

Expand chart
Data: Iowa Environmental Mesonet; Note: Days with trace amounts of precipitation not counted; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Des Moines' had more rainfall in the last seven days than most Octobers in the last decade — accumulating a heavy 5 inches of precipitation.

The reason: There's been a slow-moving weather system over the metro, allowing precipitation to build up over time, said Andrew Ansorge, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Des Moines.

Updated 34 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Microsoft's metaverse maneuvering

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Microsoft is pitching investors and regulators that its $68 billion Activision Blizzard deal is all about the metaverse, that nebulous buzzword taking the tech world by storm.

What they're saying: By my colleague Stephen Totilo's count, Nadella used the word "metaverse" at least five times in his conference call discussing the deal. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned the metaverse four times, while Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer used the term twice.