New York City is cleaning up this morning after a massive weather system roared through Wednesday, dumping up to 3 inches of rain, paralyzing the mass transit system and spawning a tornado that touched down in Brooklyn.
It's believed to be the first twister to hit Brooklyn since the late 1800s.
Classified as an F2 tornado, capable of winds between 111 mph and 135 mph, the twister snapped tree trunks like toothpicks, peeled open roofs and ripped off the sides of stately old brownstone homes.
The rain sent torrents of water into the nation's largest subway system, stopping trains in their tracks. Some had to be backed up to retreat from rising water. Thousands of commuters were stranded, late to work or never got there at all.
New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer is demanding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subway system, explain why measures to improve storm drainage apparently did not work.
One Brooklyn man may have said it best, "Whaddayoutalkin' about a tornado? We ain't in Kansas!"
Extreme Weather From Coast to Coast
This 100-year weather rarity is just one of a laundry list of extreme weather events around the world this year — from Asia, where tropical storms are adding to new rainfall records, to England's wettest three-month period ever, to the Arabian Peninsula's first tropical cyclone..
In the United States, it seems like the South is melting in the heat, parts of Texas have 10 times the normal rainfall last month and dozens of wildfires are scorching the bone-dry West.
Although the recent wacky weather has no clear-cut cause, the extreme weather is getting more scientists to sound the alarm.
"We've only seen the beginning part of the impact of global warming and I think people on the street are starting to feel it with more intense heat waves and more intense weather," said Brenda Ekwurzel, of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
In Atlanta, they're sweating through triple digits — 100 degrees for the first time in seven years. The air is hard to breathe and a code red smog alert has gone into effect.
Relief agencies have already delivered water to the elderly in Atlanta and scores of other cities.
Richmond, Va.; Columbia, S.C.; and Baltimore are just three of more than a dozen cities whose temperatures have hit 100 degrees or higher. With humidity, it felt even worse. In parts of North Carolina, it felt like 115 degrees; some places are even handing out free fans.