Updated May 8, 2019

Tornado outbreak erupts over southern plains, Texas panhandle

Severe thunderstorms are erupting over parts of the southern Plains and Texas that could spawn strong tornadoes, damaging straight line winds and baseball-sized hail, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

Thought bubble from Axios Science editor Andrew Freedman: The risk for tornadoes, including several strong tornadoes, is elevated particularly over the Texas Panhandle and a slice of far western Oklahoma. It's unusual for NOAA's Storm Prediction Center to forecast a tornado risk quite this high, which indicates their confidence that the ingredients necessary for such phenomena are likely to come together.

  • These include warm, humid air, winds that are blowing in different directions and/or speeds with height and a strong trigger to force the air to rise, cool and condense into towering thunderstorms.

Details: The severe storm threat was pushing east overnight, becoming more of a damaging wind and heavy rain concern into central Oklahoma in particular, where tornado warnings were issued. Texas also continued to be under threat from possible tornadoes, and Dallas saw strong storms on Wednesday morning.

What to watch: The coming storms could worsen already unprecedented floodingthat has caused billions of dollars in damage in the Central U.S.

What's new: Oklahoma meteorologists reported flooding was a major threat in El Reno on Tuesday morning, with 3.5 inches of rain falling by 3:40 a.m, according to Koco-5 Oklahoma City meteorologist Shelby Hays.

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.