Good morning, NBC News readers.
Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Alabama, President Donald Trump faces tough questions from undecided voters and one clothing company deploys a clever way to get its political voice heard.
Here's what we're watching this Wednesday morning.
Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Alabama as a Category 2 storm
Hurricane Sally made landfall early this morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama, threatening record floods more than 24 hours after it began dumping heavy rain on the Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Center warned on Wednesday of "catastrophic" and "life-threatening" flooding along parts of the north-central Gulf Coast. Rainfall could last up to two days.
Sally made landfall as a Category 2 storm with winds of up to 105 mph and its creeping, slow pace makes lingering rainfall a major threat.
The storm was moving at about 2 mph, pounding parts of Florida and the Alabama coast with heavy downpours and winds, as many residents reported power outages and sought to protect their homes and businesses.
This year's hurricane season — which won't end for another two and a half months — has already been one of the busiest on record. Forecasters have almost run through the alphabet of names.
- Track Hurricane Sally's path as it moves inland.
'I up-played it': Trump tells an undecided voter about his Covid-19 response
President Donald Trump told a voter that he did not downplay the coronavirus in the early days of his administration's Covid-19 response — even though he has been heard on tape saying he did during a taped interview with journalist Bob Woodward — at an ABC News town hall Tuesday.
"If you believe it's the president's responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?" a voter asked Trump.
Trump responded: "Yeah, well, I didn't downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action."
It was one of many tough questions Trump faced from voters during the town hall hosted by George Stephanopoulos in Philadelphia. It was one of the rare occasions when Trump has sat down for questions with a news network other than Fox news and was one of the few times the president has had to interact with undecided voters in a moderated setting.
The topics ranged from health care and the pandemic to race and policing, among other areas.
Meantime, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made his first trip this year to Florida on Tuesday. He targeted military members and Latino voters during his visit to the critical battleground state.
The crucial state offers a key test of Biden's pandemic campaign plan.
Flush with cash but impaired from campaigning normally by the coronavirus, the Biden campaign is betting that an acutely targeted, largely virtual effort can nonetheless turn out core supporters while identifying and persuading swing voters — all without knocking on doors or deploying its candidate in earnest in the final seven weeks. Can it work?
'Knocking on our door': Wildfire closing in on historic California observatory
A Southern California wildfire was roaring toward the historic Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday as an unprecedented fire season continued to rage across much of the West Coast, officials said.
The Bobcat Fire was within 500 feet of the observatory in Los Angeles County, which was founded in 1904 and once had some of the largest operational telescopes in the world, the U.S. Forest Service said.
The Bobcat Fire is one of 25 major fires in California. A record 3.2 million acres have burned in California this year, and thousands of buildings have been destroyed. Twenty-five people have died, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Native Americans reclaim history 400 years after Mayflower landing
"No new worlds."
These words stand emblazoned 20 feet tall at the Plymouth harbor, on England’s southwestern coast, from where the Mayflower set sail to establish a new life for its passengers in America.
The art installation is one of several commemorations erected to mark the 400th anniversary of the transatlantic voyage Wednesday.
The anniversary comes as the United States and many other countries face a reckoning on racism, and some are highlighting the famous ship’s passengers’ enormous, and for many catastrophic, impact on the world they claimed.
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- Kim Kardashian West and other celebrities said they are "freezing" their Facebook and Instagram accounts Wednesday in a one-day protest against the spread of hate speech and misinformation on those platforms.
- The city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor's family six months after she was killed in her home during a police drug raid.
- Seven deaths and over 175 coronavirus cases have now been linked to an indoor wedding and reception in Maine.A new nationwide survey found a "shocking" lack of Holocaust knowledge among millennials, Gen Z.
- Bill Gates Sr., father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and the guiding light behind his billionaire son's philanthropy, has died. He was 94.
- Birds are dropping dead in New Mexico, potentially in the "hundreds of thousands," worrying wildlife experts.
THINK about it
Trump's Fox News fixation channels Joe McCarthy's media playbook. But worse, author Larry Tye writes in an opinion piece.
The right — and wrong — way to do a cleanse, according to a dietitian.
The best face masks for any occasion, according to experts.
One sassy thing
The outdoor clothing company Patagonia has come up with a cheeky way to get its voice heard this election season: Stitch it onto its labels.
Some new shorts from the brand — which has never been shy about its environmental activism and call for action on climate change — come with a label that says "Vote the a--holes out."
"We have been standing up to climate deniers for almost as long as we’ve been making those shorts," Patagonia spokesperson Tessa Byers told NBC.
Outlander Magazine was first to report on the label inside the "Men’s and Women’s Road to Regenerative" organic stand-up shorts, tweeting a photo of the tag over the weekend.
Byers said that the message is not explicitly directed at the current administration, but is one that Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has used for years.
"It refers to politicians from any party who deny or disregard the climate crisis and ignore science," she said.
Patagonia's new tag has received mixed reviews, with some dismissing it as a marketing ploy while others have thanked the company for its longstanding social activism.
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