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Satellite view of flooding at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, HQ of Strategic Command. Image: DigitalGlobe.

A combination of a cold winter, rapid snowmelt due to mild air and heavy rain from a massive "bomb cyclone," and other factors led to some of the worst flooding on record in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is beginning to affect downstream states. The extreme nature of the floods — which have overtaken large parts of Offutt Air Force Base, where America's nuclear forces are coordinated — is best seen from high above.

Why it matters: The floods have wiped out farms, killed an unknown amount of livestock, marooned entire towns and destroyed large infrastructure as rivers have risen, sending surges of water and chunks of ice churning downstream. While waters are receding in many locations in Nebraska, flooding is occurring further southeast into the Mississippi River Valley.

As of Tuesday morning, 8 million people were still under flood warnings. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has called the floods the "most widespread disaster we have had in our state's history."

While studies have not tied this event directly to climate change, research has shown an uptick in precipitation extremes across the U.S. in recent decades as more water vapor is added to the air.

Before and after photos of flooding on the Platte River in Nebraska. Images: DigitalGlobe.
Before and after photos of flooding in Pacific Junction, Nebraska.
Before and after photos of flooding at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Go deeper: In photos: Staggering destruction from historic flooding in the Plains

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.
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Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

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The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.