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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.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
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."

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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."