A candlelight prayer vigil in Branson, Missouri. Photo: Michael Thomas/Getty Images

The fatal duck boat tragedy in Missouri that killed 17 on Thursday could have been prevented, director of the University of Georgia's Atmospheric Science Program, Dr. Marshall Shepherd, writes in Forbes.

The big picture: President of Ripley Entertainment Inc., which owns the duck boat tours, said that the storm responsible for capsizing the boat "came out of nowhere," per CNN. But a thunderstorm warning was issued around Branson, where the incident occurred, approximately 30 minutes before the boat sank.

Warning signs
  • The storm was traveling at 55 mph before it reached the lake, CNN reports. The highest wind gusts in the area clocked in at 63 mph.
  • The severe thunderstorm had been forecast for days. Shepherd points out that the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center warned of "thunderstorm clusters" and "severe wind risk" on Tuesday, two days before the incident.
  • There were life jackets on board, but Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader didn't confirm if passengers were wearing them, Reuters reports.
What they're saying
  • Shepherd writes: "It is 2018, not 1901. The meteorological community has advanced weather satellites, weather radar and models. Storms like this do not 'come out of nowhere.'"
  • Meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma, Kevin Kloesel, agreed that the storm did not come "out of nowhere."
  • Meteorologist Brian Monahan — from WSB-Atlanta, an ABC affiliate — tweeted: "Absolutely negligent to have put that boat in the water. This severe weather threat was forecast for DAYS."

Go deeper

The pandemic is getting worse again

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Due to a database error, Missouri had a 3 day gap in reporting from Oct. 11-13; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every available piece of data proves it: The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse again, all across America.

The big picture: As the death toll ticks past 212,000, at a moment when containing the virus ought to be easier and more urgent than ever, we are instead giving it a bigger foothold to grow from.

SurveyMonkey poll: Young voters' red-state blue wall

Data: SurveyMonkey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

There are only five states in the U.S. where voters younger than 35 embrace President Trump over Joe Biden, and none are swing states, according to new 50-state SurveyMonkey-Tableau data for Axios.

Why it matters: These scattered red spots in a sea of blue vividly illustrate Trump's peril if young people were to actually turn out this year. Put another way, Trump's path to re-election depends heavily on younger adults staying home.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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