Friday, July 27, 2012

Cobble Hill storm

(See Vincent's much better storm pictures in the link).

The storm we were waiting for seemed to come slowly last night. After looking at the wide band of orange and red pushing towards the East Coast from the west on radar maps, and reading about the slight potential for a tornado to touch down, I went up to the roof to check on the farm and the stability of the pots. I shoved a few pots around, herding them together, picked some shiso leaves, looked at the unremarkable, flat white sky towards Jersey, and went back downstairs to finish making supper.

We were already eating when the room turned dark. Black clouds hung above the skylights. We both rushed back to the roof, loaded with cameras for pictures. After one look I rushed straight back down again. Didn't like it. Vince stayed, with his metal tripod, and I said a prayer for him (like other Africans I address my ancestors, in this case my grandmother, whom I reserve for important issues, like finding a husband, flying planes and storm-protection).

Vince took some pictures, climbed down, battened the hatch. The sky emptied on top of us, the wind tossing the oaks across the road. We continued with supper. There was little thunder, but at one point a bright tangle of lightning broke the dark far beyond the fig tree. It frightened me, and I covered my face in my hands. Vince laughed. His back was towards it. It looked so awful.

And it was awful, we learned today. It killed a man on Clinton Street, who had been walking beside the church with the turret-like spire, the one that appears in so many of my pictures from the roof. The church had been struck, and stone had tumbled down onto scaffolding below, collapsing it. The scaffolding or stones fell on him.

We heard the sirens, above the rain. We thought perhaps branches had come down.


  1. So glad that you & Vince are safe! *waves to your Grandmother* A pity about the man who died :/

  2. (((Metal tripod))) is there a Benjamin Franklin thing going on there?

    In all seriousness, I don't like them. They're bloody violent and somebody always suffers.

    We are forecast storms overnight after heat peaking at 37 celcius. No Fun at all.

  3. A Gotham-worthy storm!

  4. But, wonderful photos. Headed our way tonight, but we need the rain.

  5. I guess I lost my touch:-)

    I heard about the church strike. We nyers think the city insulates us from weather dangers. I was at an outdoor art openin in Connecticut two weeks ago when a severe storm moved in. People stood around under metal pole tents trying to pretend that all was a sunny day. I looked at Betsy, having already checked on the Approaching storm, and we got out of there just as lightening strikes all around. My friend told me it was another 15 minutes before the rest decided to move into the building.

  6. I didnt realize the man had died, wasn't reported that way yesterday. Terrible.

  7. Scary. Deadly. How awful...
    I remember years ago in Bloemfontein, a peaceful afternoon with Anton,baby, in his pram, sleeping in the garden.
    I saw a huge jumble of black, tumbling clouds heading towards us from the north-east. I grabbed the pram and baby and fled inside. Just in time before a deluge with the accompaying pyretechnics hit. It was so quick.

  8. I saw a rogue lightning strike in a field by the interstate I was on this past week. Cloudy skies but no other lightning. Now I know how people are struck by lightning at ball games and golf courses.


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