Morning Briefing Feb. 18, 2021: NASA to attempt landing rover on Mars today, Texas power outages drop below 1 million, more snow expected in Metro Detroit

Here are this morning’s top stories

Mission to Mars: NASA prepares to land rover on red planet

NASA rover streaks toward a landing on Mars today

Today is an historic day in space exploration -- hopefully everything goes according to plan.

NASA will attempt to land its newest Mars Rover, Perseverance, on Thursday -- and it won’t be easy.

Perseverance was launched successfully back in July from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The rover is set to land on Mars on Thursday at the planet’s Jezero Crater.

You can watch this live here on ClickOnDetroit.

Weather: Light snow today, scattered Friday

The day is starting dry, but light snow will develop from south to north by late morning/early afternoon, and continue into Thursday evening. Many of us will see an inch or a little more, but some on the east side could approach a couple of inches.

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

Outages drop below 1 million in Texas

AP: Power outages in Texas dropped below 1 million on Thursday morning for the first time in four days, but many people remained without electricity or safe drinking water after winter storms wreaked havoc on the state’s power grid and utilities.

Meanwhile, heavy snow and ice were expected Thursday in the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, with the wintry weather moving into the Northeast by nightfall.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, 15 inches of snow was on the ground Thursday after back-to-back storms, tying a record for snow depth set in 1918, the National Weather Service said.

This week’s extreme weather has been blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people, some of whom perished while struggling to keep warm inside their homes. In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage. A grandmother and three children died when flames escaped the fireplace they were using to keep warm.

Coronavirus in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 577,203 as of Wednesday, including 15,188 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s update includes 939 new cases and 11 additional deaths. On Tuesday, the state reported a total of 576,264 cases and 15,177 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases have plateaued and deaths are starting to slow. Testing has been steady with more than 40,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down below 4.0% as of Monday. Hospitalizations continue to decline over the last several weeks.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 898 on Tuesday -- the lowest since October. The 7-day death average was 34 on Tuesday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 43,000 on Tuesday -- near the lowest it’s been since October.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.