Tornado Strikes Virginia Beach, Leaving Trail of Destruction and Cancelling Events

A tornado that ripped through Virginia Beach on Sunday evening left a trail of destruction, destroying up to 100 homes, capsizing boats, and downing trees.[0] City Manager Patrick Duhaney declared a local state of emergency, and the city said the number of homes damaged in the storm was still unknown, but was estimated to be between 50 and 100.[1] There have been no reported injuries.[2] Meteorologists were able to observe debris caused by the tornado on their radars, as confirmed by the National Weather Service's detection of a debris signature. At approximately 5:50 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, a tornado was confirmed to be in progress as radar indicated a debris signature, indicating that the tornado was lifting debris high into the air. On Monday, a storm survey will be conducted by the National Weather Service office located in Wakefield, Virginia, in order to ascertain the tornado's intensity and its classification on the enhanced Fujita scale.[3]

Due to the severe weather on Sunday, the Something in the Water festival in Virginia Beach had to cancel all scheduled events for the day. Weather concerns forced the city and organizers to cancel the third day of the Something in the Water music festival on the beach, earlier on Sunday. Great Neck Recreation Center, located at 2521 Shorehaven Drive, was opened for residents impacted by the storm, and pets were also allowed.[4] The city warned its residents about the raging tornado on Twitter and wrote: ‘Attention reported Tornado on the ground in the area of River Road and Great Neck.[4]

Virginia Beach City Public Schools announced that due to storm damage in the area, Cox High School, Great Neck Middle School, and John B. Dey Elementary School will be closed to students and staff on Monday, May 1.[5] According to a message sent to families on Sunday night, students who are zoned for certain schools but attend academies or special programs at different schools within the division will also be exempt from attending school on Monday.[5] The closure of Great Neck Road between Cox High School and the bridge at Adam Keeling Road will continue until further notice, in order to facilitate emergency response and debris removal.[5]

A spokesperson for Virginia Natural Gas said that lightning had struck a power pole and melted the plastic gas line, which caused the fire in the parking lot between Fresh Market and Target in the Pembroke area of Virginia Beach on Saturday night.[6]

0. “Tornado spotted in Virginia Beach, ‘major storm damage' reported in neighborhood” Fox Weather , 30 Apr. 2023,

1. “State of emergency declared as devastating tornado destroys up to 100 homes in Virginia Beach” Daily Mail, 1 May. 2023,

2. “More than a dozen homes in Virginia Beach damaged by suspected tornado” Yahoo Life, 30 Apr. 2023,

3. “Tornado strikes Virginia Beach Sunday, damaging an estimated 50 to 100 homes” WWBT, 1 May. 2023,

4. “Virginia Beach tornado warning: Videos of damage circulate after twister touches River Road and Great Neck” Opoyi, 30 Apr. 2023,

5. “John B. Dey Elem., Great Neck Middle and Cox High closed Monday” News 3 WTKR Norfolk, 1 May. 2023,

6. “Lightning strikes gas line in Virginia Beach parking lot, causing fire” News 3 WTKR Norfolk, 23 Apr. 2023,

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