Sep 5, 2017

Trump signs emergency declarations as Irma reaches record strength

NOAA via AP

Hurricane Irma is now the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, per the AP. As of this afternoon, it had maximum sustained winds of 185 mph. At its peak, Harvey had winds of around 130 mph.

  • President Trump has approved disaster declarations for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all of which are at risk of being hit head on.
  • Irma is approaching Barbuda and several small islands. An official statement from the government of Barbuda ended with, "May God protect us all."
  • Per AP: "If it stays on the forecast track and reaches the Florida Straits, the water there is warm enough that the already 'intense' storm could become much worse with wind speeds potentially reaching 225 mph, warned Kerry Emanuel, an MIT meteorology professor." That could be catastrophic for the Florida Keys.
  • Another tropical storm, Jose, formed today in the Atlantic.

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Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.