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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The latest Brexit extension takes the prospect of an economically calamitous "no deal" Brexit off the table until Jan. 31, but businesses remain in a state of very expensive limbo.

Why it matters: "It is hugely costly, in terms of money but also in terms of effort and energy. So much has been put into this process and into emergency 'no deal' planning that could have been used in other areas," says Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation.

  • While warnings of a "Brexit recession" following the referendum haven't come to fruition, the impact has already been felt — and Brexit hasn't actually happened yet.
  • "The real implications will play out over time," says McGuinness, whose organization represents London’s powerful financial services sector. "But we’ve seen investments slow down, we’ve seen people put decisions on hold, and we hear about people having problems recruiting."

What to watch: “The big worry I have is we have an inconclusive election, and where does that take us? We can’t just keep going on this treadmill where no progress is made.”

  • Brexit will also not be over when it's over — the trading relationship between the U.K. and EU must still be negotiated, and more deadlines loom in 2020 and beyond.
  • McGuinness points out that Switzerland, which isn't an EU member, has been in a "constant state of negotiation" with the bloc for years.

The bottom line: McGuinness is confident London will remain a global financial center after Brexit. But she worries that the economic pain that comes along with it will make it even harder to "put back together this rather fractured society."

Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

The latest: Greater Manchester Police, in Northwest England, tweeted on Sunday night that officers had arrested and detained two teenagers in South Manchester for questioning in relation to the siege in Colleyville, Texas, "as part of the ongoing investigation into the attack."

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.