Tornado Damages Homes and Uproots Trees in Virginia Beach
A storm that passed over Virginia Beach on Sunday evening brought one confirmed tornado and damaged an estimated 50 to 100 homes, the authorities said.
Patrick Duhaney, the city manager, declared a state of emergency on Sunday night as the coastal municipality sought to provide refuge to people whose homes were damaged and prepared to send its crews to pick up debris from public streets on Monday morning.
The tornado went through the Fort Story area in northeastern Virginia Beach just before 6 p.m., said Mike Montefusco, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Va.
The tornado’s exact path will be confirmed through a survey on Monday.
Despite the damage to area homes, no injuries were immediately reported.
Emergency crews were patrolling the area by bus and were picking up residents who needed transportation to a shelter that was set up at the Great Neck Recreation Center, where five people were staying as of 9 p.m. on Sunday, Tiffany Russell, a spokeswoman for the city of Virginia Beach, said. Some residents had reported gas leaks, the city said.
Multiple boats were reported to have broken off their moorings, overturned and damaged, Ms. Russell said. The city was working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Port of Virginia Maritime Incident Response team to evaluate the impact and recover the boats.
The Virginia Beach Fire Department was responding to “calls for major storm damage to multiple homes” in the Great Neck area, the department said on Twitter.
The Hampton Roads area, which includes Virginia Beach, had more than 1,000 power outages as of 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, down from more than 14,000 earlier in the day, Bonita Billingsley Harris, a spokeswoman for Dominion Energy, said.
Virginia Beach, specifically, accounted for about 470 of those outages. The site of the tornado was still inaccessible to repair crews on Sunday night because of trees blocking the road.
The majority of power was expected to be restored later on Sunday night, she said, but some of the outages in Virginia Beach would continue into Monday.
More than 500 electric customers in North Carolina were also out of service on Sunday night, Ms. Billingsley Harris said.
The city canceled a festival that had been planned for Sunday evening, which representatives of the National Weather Service had been set to attend.
The Weather Service officials stayed at the festival site to help handle the response to the storm, Ms. Russell said.
“No one wants to make this call, but we cannot predict nor negotiate with the weather tonight,” the city manager, Patrick Duhaney, said in a statement on Facebook announcing the cancellation. “It is our responsibility to ensure public safety above all else.”
Víctor Manuel Ramos contributed reporting.