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Rain obscures the view of a tornado on May 28, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

A massive EF-4 tornado touched down south of Lawrence, Kansas about 6:15 pm local time and carved a 32-mile path of destruction toward Kansas City, causing heavy damage and prompting the National Weather Service to declare a "tornado emergency" for several counties in the Kansas City metro area.

Details: The NWS reported debris from the tornado fell from the sky ahead of the storm along I-70 to the north and northeast of Edwardsville. LMH Health said 12 people were being treated in hospital in Douglas County for injuries after the tornado hit, with 1 person in surgery Tuesday night. The tornado caused Kansas City International Airport to temporarily suspend flights and send workers and travelers into shelter.

The latest: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said President Trump granted the state's request for an emergency federal disaster declaration for 18 Kansas counties affected by the severe weather.

  • Two vans with the storm chasing tour operator Silver Lining Tours were overturned by the tornado as it passed south of Lawrence, resulting in minor injuries, according to the company.
  • The storm crossed into Missouri, where more tornado warnings were issued at about 7:30 pm local time and a new tornado from the same thunderstorm touched down near Kearney, Missouri.
  • Based on a storm damage survey, that tornado was rated as an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with top winds of 135 mph.
  • Flash flood warnings stretched across northeast Kansas, Southern Iowa and northern Missouri.
  • The Red Cross has opened a shelter for people affected by the tornado, with the Kansas City Star reporting homes and other structures were destroyed in Linwood.

The big picture: Using Doppler radar imagery, meteorologists were able to pinpoint the tornado's location as well as confirm the damage left in its wake, as debris was lofted tens of thousands of feet into the air.

  • These storms are just part of a broader arc of severe thunderstorms causing flooding, hail and tornadoes stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.

Context: It's been 13 consecutive days where a tornado has touched down, the longest stretch since 1980.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

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