Tornado rips through Great Neck area of Virginia Beach
A tornado swept through the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach on Sunday night, causing moderate to severe damage to what officials estimate to be 115 homes and counting.
The National Weather Service in Wakefield said the tornado touched down around River and North Great Neck roads just before 6 p.m., amid heavy rains and thunderstorms that canceled the Something in the Water festival nearby.
Officials with the service confirmed that the tornado was an EF-3 rating, meaning it contained winds of 136-165 mph. Suffolk saw a tornado of the same magnitude in 2008, which caused 20 miles of destruction and injured 200 people.
The service said officials could see debris on the radar, lofted into the air during the event.
City Manager Patrick Duhaney has declared a local state of emergency that's expected to last for a while, while crews work to clear downed trees and other debris. No injuries from the incident have been reported.
U.S. Navy officials said Monday that the tornado also touched down at Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story. There are reports of property damage and power outages but currently no injuries, according to a statement from the base.
Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Witherspoon ordered only mission-essential personnel to report to Fort Story on Monday.
At a press conference Monday, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said the city is "blessed and thankful" that no one was injured in the storm, which also caused some gas leaks.
Because of Something in the Water, city leaders said, an emergency response center was already primed to take on the challenge.
The city is using the Great Neck Recreation Center as a shelter for residents impacted by the storm. The rec center is otherwise closed to the public.
Cox High School, Great Neck Middle School and John Dey Elementary School closed Monday because of the event but reopened Tuesday. Other closures included Great Neck Road between Cox High School and the bridge at Adam Keeling Road.
Further information about impacted areas can be found at https://emergency.vbgov.com/.
City officials ask citizens to hold off on making donations until they set up proper channels to do so.