May 19, 2019

Tornadoes strike Southern Plains: Region set for more severe storms

The aftermath of the tornado in Geronimo, Oklahoma. Photo: National Weather Service Norman

Waves of severe thunderstorms struck the Southern Plains Saturday, bringing tornadoes, large hail and flooding rains, and the National Weather Service warns more severe storms are set to hit the region.

Details: The NWS Norman said an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 130 mph struck east of Geronimo, Oklahoma, early Saturday. It destroyed at least 2 homes and left 1 person with minor injuries, AP reports. Power lines downed by winds left tens of thousands of people in Oklahoma and Arkansas, where a suspected tornado damaged the roofs of numerous homes, per AP.

The big picture: The severe weather threats extend from Texas to the Upper Midwest, with everything from large hail to flooding rains and more tornadoes possible through Monday.

  • Monday is forecast to be the most volatile day, with an unusually strong low pressure area for this time of year centered near Kansas, drawing up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and providing the strong winds needed for rotating thunderstorms to form.
  • The National Weather Service is warning of a heightened risk of tornadoes, including strong tornadoes, and flash flooding across the Plains.
  • A swath from north Texas to Iowa look to be the focus of the most dangerous conditions on Monday.

Go deeper: Rare, explosive weather pattern targets U.S. with snow, tornadoes, heat

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

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Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World