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Wilford Martinez grabs the median as he's rescued from his flooded car along I-610 in Houston yesterday, in floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey (David J. Phillip / AP)

That's how CNN meteorologist Tom Sater described the hell Harvey has unleashed on Houston. Catch up quick:

  • FEMA says recovery will take "years."
  • Tragedy of epic proportions: "Rain may last days with some areas seeing as much as 50 inches ... Storm disrupts flights, ports, railways and oil refineries." (Bloomberg)
  • "Harvey [is] the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years." (Reuters)
  • "Nearly a quarter of Texas' population lives in areas covered by a federal disaster declaration ... Gov. Greg Abbott says 18 counties are now covered by the disaster declaration approved by President Donald Trump. There are nearly 7 million people in those counties, including the nation's fourth-largest city of Houston. Texas has a population of 27.8 million."
  • "[H]undreds of people ... [w]eary and carrying little more than what was in their pockets ... arrived ... by boat, by bus, and by foot [at] Houston's showcase convention center downtown, transformed by volunteers with few hours' notice into a shelter." (AP)
  • "[V]olunteers served food, handed out towels and set up tables with donated clothes for a long line of evacuees. Some people huddled around a projection screen showing television coverage of the storm. Others collected bowls of pasta with parmesan cheese and cups of black coffee." (AP)
  • Houstonian goes fishing inside his house. (Video)
  • Houston Chronicle banner: "SWAMPED BY HARVEY." (Read the digital paper free.)

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Go deeper

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

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