The News You Need To Read This Morning

West Coast floods, an “unprecedented” abortion ban case, and the new most popular dog in America

This is an excerpt from Incoming, BuzzFeed News’ morning newsletter dedicated to making sense of this chaotic world we live in. Join the club.

aerial view of a suburban neighborhood flooded with brown water

An atmospheric river storm is currently sweeping through the West Coast of the US, causing heavy flooding and hurricane-like winds in the Central and Northern California areas.

On Wednesday morning, just under 200,000 people in California lost power, according to Power has since been restored to the majority of affected residents, but tens of thousands of people remain under evacuation orders and 43 of the state’s 58 counties have declared states of emergency. 

Atmospheric river storms form by picking up moisture and warm moist air in the tropics. When the storm reaches cooler regions and makes landfall, the water vapor cools and turns into rain and sometimes even snow, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This is the 11th atmospheric river to hit California this winter, following one that struck the state over the weekend, which left thousands without power and two people dead. Last week, President Biden issued a Presidential Emergency Declaration allowing federal assistance to support California’s storm response efforts. According to the National Weather Service, more storms and atmospheric rivers are likely to hit the West Coast as soon as next week.

A teen holds a dog wrapped in a blanket as he stands in a flooded neighborhood
A truck driver drives through a flooded road, the water reaches its headlights

"Our banking system remains sound," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday

  • “I can reassure the members of the committee that our banking system remains sound and that Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them,” Yellen said ahead of a Senate hearing on the latest series of bank failures. Yellen also made clear that taxpayer money will not be used to pay back depositors, and that bank shareholders will not be protected from financial losses, the New York Times reports.


Wellesley College students voted to open admissions to trans men and nonbinary applicants, but the college’s administration said that it will not change its policies. Students said changing the admissions policy would align with the college’s mission of providing a safe educational environment to people who are marginalized because of their gender.

A missing teen's phone recorded a video that shows his accused killer cleaning a gun, prosecutors said. Dylan Rounds, 19, was reported missing on May 30, 2022, and his neighbor has since been charged with murder.

The impacts of the pandemic on mental health were "minimal," according to one study. People who went through it disagree. The study prompted a swift backlash from people who criticized the methodology used and shared personal anecdotes of how the pandemic challenged them mentally. 

The Oscars were a nightmare for fat people at every turn. As a fat person, it’s hard for me to watch people monitor body size so boldly, Kelsey Weekman writes.

The latest attempt at an abortion ban made its first appearance in court

On Wednesday, a federal judge heard arguments in a case seeking an emergency order to have the Food and Drug Administration withdraw its approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs known as the abortion pill.

The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000 after vetting it for over four years. Its approval in the US came nearly a decade after it was authorized for use in the UK and Sweden. But the anti-abortion group Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is arguing that approval for the drug was rushed, and that using it could be dangerous. Department of Justice lawyers firmly rebutted this claim on Wednesday, noting overwhelming evidence that the drug is safe.

Because this case is heard in federal court, a ruling for AHM would remove the drug from the national market. Lorie Chaiten, senior staff attorney at the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, told BuzzFeed News ahead of the hearing that even the existence of the lawsuit is “uncharted waters.”

“What the plaintiffs have asked for here is unprecedented,” Chaiten said. “Courts just simply do not jump in and remove drugs from the market, particularly not ones that have been on the market for [23 years].”

Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, many pregnant people living in states that have banned or seriously restricted abortion have turned to medication abortions to fill the gap. More than half of abortions in the US come from medication abortions, according to a 2022 survey from the Guttmacher Institute.


A car on fire in a crowded street

There’s a new top dog in town

a bulldog in a metallic pink shirt sitting in a director's chair

Yes, the French bulldog was officially named the most popular dog breed in the US for 2022, according to data released by the American Kennel Club. Per the AKC, which maintains data on purebred registrations across the country, the French Bulldog’s popularity has surged 1,000% in the last decade, climbing to the top from the 14th spot in 2012.

This win also officially ends the 31-year reign of the iconic and practically ubiquitous Labrador retriever. “Breaking the Lab’s top-dog status of over three decades is no small feat,” the AKC said in an announcement on Wednesday. “The Frenchie is a smart, compact breed, and they can fit into various different lifestyles, perfect for people all across the country.”

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