I had a great view yesterday evening, flying in from a business trip to Montreal to land at Billy Bishop airport on the Toronto Islands, after a wide sweep out into Lake Ontario to avoid the storm front that shrouded the shoreline. Huge banks of black and grey ragged clouds, the skyscrapers of the financial district gleaming in the strange half-light like molten metal – and then the wind, which picked up our small turboprop aircraft, swivelled it sideways in an uneasy fishtail motion, lofted one wing high and then swung the opposite skywards, as if we were paddling madly in some swollen, turbulent rapids. We pushed forward, the plane squirming like a live thing, so that I thought he might go around and try the landing again, or even divert to another airport. But no, on we went, lower and lower. And then the final mad sweep over the water, and a hard bang as the pilot put the plane down firmly, making no mistake about it.
There was no applause, but a few people commented on their way out, and I said to the captain, who was standing in the cockpit doorway, ‘That was the most exciting landing I’ve had in a long time. Good job.’
‘It was quite difficult,’ he said, and grinned.
I emerged into torrential, almost tropical rain, caught the ferry across the narrow channel, and made a dash for a taxi. Drenched within seconds.
And this morning, the news – power lines and telephone poles down in Toronto, a state of emergency in the small town of Angus, after last night’s tornado.