National Weather Service confirms EF-3 tornado hit Virginia Beach

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:56 AM EDT|Updated: May. 1, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WWBT) - Clean-up efforts are only just beginning after an EF-3 tornado touched down in Virginia Beach, leveling homes in a matter of seconds.

This is the first-ever tornado of that strength to hit the city on record.

“No words can describe what we saw in our tour of the district,” Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney said in a news conference Monday. “This tornado has been impactful, and it’s devastated a lot of people’s lives.”

On Monday, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-3 tornado ripped through a residential area. Officials say the storm impacted at least 115 homes after it touched down around 6 p.m. Sunday.

At its peak, the storm reached winds of 145 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

“The storm survey is still ongoing, and additional details will be released later today,” the National Weather Service in Wakefield said.

So far, no injuries have been reported. The storm knocked out power to thousands of people in the Great Neck portion of the city.

City leaders said in a press conference Monday that it’s unbelievable everyone walked away from this with their lives and loved ones.

“We are indeed grateful that there was not a loss of life or anyone injured, and for that, we are most thankful,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said. “If you take a look at the devastation that’s out there, it’s indeed a miracle.”

The storm canceled the remainder of the Something in the Water Festival and caused damage to the military installation at Fort Story.

Virginia Beach’s Chief of Police said it was a stroke of luck that extra first responders and emergency workers were already in the area for the festival and immediately pivoted to help tornado victims.

The city has opened the Great Neck Recreation Center on Shorehaven Drive for residents who have been impacted by the storm.

Residents can expect to see several crews in the area to clean up debris from the storm.

“As I spoke with neighbors of the community this morning, it was neighbors helping neighbors with the golf carts out, bringing the chainsaws out, just really working together to make the best of a bad situation,” District 8 Councilmember Chris Taylor said.

Virginia Beach schools are closed on Monday.