Tornado Leaves Trail of Destruction in Virginia Beach

A tornado ripped through Virginia Beach on Sunday afternoon, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.[0] The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for the Virginia Beach area just before 6 p.m. and confirmed seeing a debris signature for a tornado on its radars, which means meteorologists could see debris caused by the storm.[1] At 6:07 PM, a tornado hit the River Road and North Great Neck Road area of the city. In the aftermath of the tornado's devastation, City Manager Patrick Duhaney announced a local state of emergency late on Sunday night.[2] The estimated range of damaged homes is between 50 to 100 with no definite total number known.[2]

The tornado left massive damage after ripping through Virginia Beach, and some of the damaged homes included those in Upper Chelsea Reach and Haversham Close, the city said in a news release.[2] The staff of Virginia Natural Gas were present at various households to evaluate gas leaks.[2] At approximately 6 p.m., the city announced that a tornado had touched down at the intersection of River Road and North Great Neck Road. According to a news release, numerous homes in the Upper Chelsea Reach and Haversham Close areas have sustained damage.

Due to road closures and damage impacting the Great Neck area of the city as a result of the tornado, Cox High School, Great Neck Middle School, and John B. Dey Elementary School will be closed on May 1, according to Virginia Beach City Public Schools officials.[0] Tomorrow, students from these three schools who are enrolled in academies or special programs at different schools within the division will also be granted an exemption from school due to transportation uncertainty.[0]

Due to the storms on Sunday, the Something in the Water festival at the Oceanfront was also canceled. Due to weather concerns, the city and event organizers made the decision to cancel the third day of the Something in the Water music festival, which was scheduled to take place on the beach.

Those affected by the storm can find a temporary refuge at the Great Neck Recreation Center, situated at 2521 Shorehaven Drive. It is now accessible for all.[1] On site, the center provides fundamental commodities and a designated area for individuals with pets.[2] Until further notice, Great Neck Road will be closed from Cox High School to the Adam Keeling Road bridge to facilitate emergency and debris management operations.[3]

On Monday afternoon, Virginia Natural Gas informed News 3 that a power pole was hit by lightning during a storm which melted the plastic gas line nearby, resulting in a fire. They confirmed that there was no pre-existing leakage.[4]

This devastating tornado serves as a reminder of the importance of being prepared for severe weather and having an emergency plan in place.[5] It is crucial to stay informed and follow the guidance of local officials during weather-related emergencies.

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

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

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

3. “Virginia Beach city manager declares local state of emergency following tornado”, 1 May. 2023,

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

5. “Tornado damage reported in Virginia Beach as strong storms rip area” WVEC, 30 Apr. 2023,