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David J. Phillip / AP

Coming crisis ... Houstonians with no flood insurance: "When Harvey struck Houston there were far fewer homes and other properties in the area with flood insurance than just five years ago ... The sharp drop means many residents fleeing Harvey's floodwaters have no financial backup to fix up their homes." (AP)

  • Gauges have shown 52 inches and 49 inches of rain: "If either of these are confirmed, it would be the heaviest storm-total rainfall from any tropical cyclone in the continental U.S. in records dating to 1950, topping the 48-inch storm total in Medina, Texas, from Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978." (Weather Channel)
  • Harvey made landfall again this morning, this time in Louisiana: "Periods of torrential rain will continue over parts of Texas and Louisiana the next several days, worsening flooding in some areas." (Weather Channel)
  • Latest stats: "The ... most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least 17 people, forced tens of thousands of people to leave deluged homes and caused damage estimated at tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest U.S. natural disasters." (Reuters)
  • N.Y. Times Quote of the Day — Miriam Camero, a caseworker in Houston for an immigrant legal-aid group, on the added uncertainty many undocumented people are facing in the Harvey chaos: "Most of our clients have ankle monitors, and we don't know how these devices will withstand being underwater."
  • Houston Chronicle banner: "EPIC FLOODING SHOWS NO MERCY." (Read the digital paper free.)

Go deeper

Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The U.S. Omicron wave may be peaking, but now COVID deaths are climbing as cases continue to soar in most of the country.

The big picture: Omicron’s stranglehold in the U.S. started about a month ago. Its death toll — while almost certain to be smaller than previous waves of the pandemic — is only now starting to take hold, and deaths will likely continue to rise for several weeks.

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome" that's afflicted American and Canadian diplomats around the world, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.