"At about 4:25 P.M. on June 9 , fishermen on the north end of the Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts watched as an unusual boiling and tumbling cloud took the form of an enormous, revolving cylinder. Minutes later the end of the cylinder reached down like an enormous finger and trees began to snap in the woods of Petersham. . . . For the next eightyfour minutes, that funnel would cut a damage swath of unprecedented size and intensity in the northeastern United States.
People died in the open, in cars, in lakes, and under homes in what would be called the Worcester tornado. It lifted and carried tons of debris eastward; tar paper, shingles, sheet metal, and plywood rained down onto two dozen towns in eastern Massachusetts. . . . Photographs and a piece of waterlogged, frozen mattress were found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Trousers with a wallet were taken from the second floor of a home in Shrewsbury and dropped in Westwood, 25 miles eastsoutheast. . . . A Social Security card was returned to its owner from Hyannis on Cape Cod, 90 miles southeast of Worcester."from the Preface