An even stronger Hurricane Ian is expected to cause life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flooding in the Florida Peninsula, weather experts say. The storm has caused the House Jan. 6 committee to postpone today's hearing. The European Union has called out a "deliberate" attack on its natural gas infrastructure.
Let's get into Wednesday's news.
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Hurricane Ian gaining monstrous strength
Oceans heated up by climate change are turbocharging Hurricane Ian into a powerful threat. After getting 67% stronger in less than 22 hours from Monday to Tuesday, Ian is bearing down as a Category 4 hurricane that threatens to deliver a nightmare storm-surge to the Tampa Bay and southwest Florida regions. Read more
The cause for Ian's rapid growth: The storm traveled over Caribbean waters that are about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal, largely because of climate change.
Ian is going to stay a while: Forecasters say Ian is poised to spend days dumping rain on Florida after it makes landfall as a hurricane, a troubling scenario that could lead to widespread flooding and damage.
When to know to evacuate: Authorities are urging millions of Floridians to evacuate, but where should they go?
If you planned to fly to Florida this week: Over 1,200 flights slated for Tuesday and Wednesday have been canceled due to the anticipated hurricane.
What is storm surge? : The Tampa area sits at sea level, which makes it especially vulnerable to storm surge, the massive amount of water that builds up and comes ashore during a hurricane.
Jan. 6 committee hearing postponed
Hurricane Ian has now hit Capitol Hill. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol postponed its upcoming hearing scheduled for Wednesday because of the storm "bearing down on parts of Florida," the committee's chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a statement. The committee was supposed to return to public hearings at 1 p.m. after a two-month break. A new date was not announced. Read more
Jan. 6 hearing breakdown: Here's our takeaways from the committee's first 8 hearings.
More news to know now
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🌤 What's the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.
Deal holds off partial government shutdown
The Senate reached a deal Tuesday to keep the federal government funded through mid-December, likely avoiding what would have been a partial shutdown starting Saturday, just weeks before the midterm elections. Senators voted to move the funding bill to the floor for a vote later this week after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., agreed to remove a controversial measure that would have expedited federal permits for certain energy projects, including a pipeline in his home state. Read more
European Union vows retaliation if energy network attacked
The discovery of unusual leaks on two natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany has led some European leaders and experts to suggest sabotage could be a possible cause amid an energy standoff with Russia due to the war in Ukraine. The leaks were detected after three large underwater explosions registered Monday at seismic stations in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Top European Union diplomat Josep Borell said Wednesday that “all available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” and such a move "is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.” Read more
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Nutrition labels on the front of packages?
The Biden-Harris administration is pushing for a standardized, front-of-package (FOP) food labeling system to help consumers make healthier choices and better understand the nutrition of the products they buy. The Food and Drug Administration will research and propose developing the FOP labeling system, the White House announced Tuesday as part of a 44-page strategy plan – released ahead of Wednesday's White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. FOP labels don't replace the already-existing, longer Nutrition Facts you can find on the back of products – but do highlight key information to make it easier to identify healthier foods, advocates say. Read more
''Food as medicine'': White House pilot program would bring medically tailored meals under Medicare.
Analysis: Biden has lofty plan to ''end hunger.'' But president must address Americans' urgent needs.
📷 Photo of the day: Virginia students walk out over reversal of transgender protections 📷
More than 1,000 students walked out of Virginia middle and high schools Tuesday, organizers said, leaving class in protest of the state's reversal of transgender protections that put decisions on students' identities and preferred names at school exclusively in the hands of their parents. Read more
Here are more photos from the walk-out.
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Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note, shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.
Associated Press contributed reporting.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Ian, Joe Manchin, European Union, Medicare: Daily Briefing