September 17th, 2010


"Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"

Yup, it's true, yesterday we had a tornado chew its way like a buzz saw through Brooklyn--and Staten Island, and Queens, and Long Island, and I think parts of Connecticut. At least it seemed like a tornado at the time, and the word was thrown around during early reports. However, it looks like the National Weather Service could downgrade it in hindsight. They're still investigating whether there was an actual funnel touchdown. Call it whatever you want, it was pretty damn crazy.

Sometime after five-thirty, it got nighttime dark all of a sudden. There were bright flashes of nearby lightning, and loud thunder, and torrential rain. And then the wind went berserk and I could barely see out my window. I heard what I thought was debris--rocks and gravel, mostly--lifted by the wind and hitting my window, but later I found it they were actually hailstones. Hailstones! And then it was over, as quickly as it started. I didn't venture outside, but part of me wondered if I would see Munchkins if I did.

All told, I heard reports of winds reaching 60 mph in Crown Heights and 80 mph in Park Slope. The LIRR was shut down. Commuters were stranded and people couldn't get into Penn Station because of overcrowding. Trees were torn out of the ground and thrown around the streets--though not my street, luckily. I've only got a few small branches down and bits of tar all over the place from the roofs. Many others weren't so lucky. I've seen pictures of entire trees uprooted and crushing cars, or blocking roads. A woman in Queens died when a tree fell on her car.

In true modern day fashion, videos of the tornado moving through Brooklyn were posted on YouTube mere minutes later. Here's an eerie one that looks like something out of an alien invasion movie. And here's one more akin to what I saw out my window.

It was the craziest damn thing.