It was just a bit cool this afternoon in Brooklyn, the kind of cool where you wonder whether to wear a jacket but, then again, you think it's really not that chilly, yet without the jacket, you wish you'd worn one.
Then suddenly, around 5 PM, we noticed that it was extremely hot, so warm that we had to open the windows, remove socks, that sort of thing, the air very close. Odd, we said.
And just as quickly there was mammoth thunder, the sky turned dark, pelting rain, hail, and a wind so forceful that I saw someone across the street blown over, umbrellas turning inside out. Next it was dark, dark, dark, the driving rain, the wind, again, the wind...and confusion about where to go, to the cellar, into the hall, as we figured out that it had to be a tornado.
Perhaps five minutes later, maybe ten, it was all over. A huge branch down across three backyards (including that of my relatives), the back door jammed shut, leaves blown in through open windows...and then outside, trees down everywhere, everywhere, branches, limbs, the steeple of a church folding a car roof in half.
I went outside to take some pictures but was stopped by people coming up from the subway, asking what had happened, others reporting what they'd seen a block or two away, everyone talking to one another, the most unlikely people exchanging information, people who in any other moment would barely look at one another, or worse, be afraid to talk. Instead, old and young, hip and dowdy, from the islands, from New Jersey, black, white, brown, yellow, just so many people talking, all stunned.
A tornado in Brooklyn? My mother's hometown. A tornado brings Brooklyn to a halt.