EF-3 tornado rips through Great Neck area of Virginia Beach, causing more than $15 million in damages
A tornado swept through the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach Sunday night, causing severe damage to what officials estimate to be 115 structures and counting. 36 homes are so damaged they're unable to be lived in.
Latest estimates put the residential damage at $15.3 million, and the public damage --- not including JEB Little Creek/Fort Story --- at $731,000.
Permit fees for repairs have been waived by the city, and real-time traffic updates for Great Neck Road can be found by texting GNROAD to 67283.
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.
They said they 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 awhile, while crews work to clear downed trees and other debris. No injuries from the incident have been reported.
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 Monday.
At a press conference Monday, 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 closed to the public.
Cox High School, Great Neck Middle School and John Dey Elementary School are closed because of the event. Superintendent Aaron Spence said officials will decide tonight whether the schools will reopen Tuesday.
Other closures include 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.