Oct 19, 2017

Runoff from Hurricane Harvey may harm coral reefs

Photo: NOAA

Hurricane Harvey dumped thirteen trillion gallons of rain on southeast Texas. That water has since gathered into a massive low-salinity plume on the Texas ocean shelf. Before November, winds may carry some of this runoff to reefs in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS), triggering mass death or disease in corals and other organisms.

Why it matters: Reefs protect shorelines and support fisheries. We know hurricanes destroy reefs through wave action, but less is known about the impacts of storm-driven runoff. As climate change increases the frequency and severity of such storms, actions to mitigate these effects will be needed.

An automated sampling buoy already observed a 10% decline in salinity near the reefs between September 28 and October 4. Scientists do not yet know the impact of this drop, but freshwater runoff was implicated in a previous mass-mortality event on the East Bank following the "Tax Day" floods in April 2016.

What's next: A team of scientists will characterize seawater conditions, microbial communities and coral and sponge health at FGBNMS this week to assess Harvey-related impacts.

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Focus group: Minnesota swing voters balk at Trump's Easter deadline

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A group of Midwestern swing voters that supported President Trump's handling of the coronavirus less than two weeks ago is balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter, saying they'll tolerate business closures for as long as it takes to contain the spread.

Why it matters: Their feedback suggests that some voters otherwise mostly supportive of the president — and who still see financial threats outpacing health threats — aren't so tired of social distancing that they're willing to risk ending it too quickly.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 607,965 — Total deaths: 28,125 — Total recoveries: 132,688.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 104,837 — Total deaths: 1,711 — Total recoveries: 894.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to provide businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: North Carolina is latest state to issue stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day.
  6. Business latest: President Trump authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to direct General Motors to build ventilators for those affected by COVID-19. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been appointed to enforce the act.
  7. 🏰 1 Disney thing: Both Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in the U.S. are closed until further notice.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump signs $2 trillion relief bill as U.S. coronavirus case count tops 100,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday, as infections in the U.S. topped 100,000 and more cities experience spikes of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 hours ago - Health