<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Sunday, October 1, 2023
Oct. 1, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Tornadoes in Virginia and Florida, flooding in other states


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va — Officials in Virginia, Maine, and Florida are assessing damage Monday from major storms over the weekend, including some that caused power outages and wrecked homes.

The City of Virginia Beach declared a state of emergency after a tornado moved through the area and damaged over 100 buildings, downed trees and caused gas leaks.

The National Weather Service’s Wakefield, Virginia, office confirmed Monday morning that the tornado was rated at EF-3, with wind estimates of 140 mph (225 kph) to 150 mph (240 kph). It pushed well-built homes off foundations, collapsed exterior walls, and tore entire roofs off according to an agency statement.

No injuries were reported.

One family escaped injuries by reacting to a weather alert that came less than a minute before the tornado hit.

“It just happened suddenly,” Lori Camper said. “The whole thing lasted 10 seconds.”

She and her visiting daughter looked out the window and saw the trees bending in the wind and ran. The family, including Camper’s grandchildren, aged 2 years and 5 weeks, as well as two dogs, ran into a stairwell — the only place without windows.

“Then all the windows blew out in the kitchen and sucked everything out of the kitchen and a tree fell through the roof,” Camper said. “And now one side of the house is leaning.”

She hadn’t experienced a tornado that strong in the 19 years she had lived there.

“I’m grateful,” she said. “God took care of us.”

Virginia Beach Director of Emergency Management David Topczynski said Monday that the city got lucky because the storm came in Sunday during a music festival, when an emergency operation center was already set up, allowing for a swift response. He said 115 damaged structures were identified Sunday, and more are expected to be logged Monday.

Virginia Beach’s weekend storms are generally associated with the same large-scale area of low pressure over the Great Lakes, NWS Meteorologist Eric Seymour said by telephone.

The agency confirmed another tornado over the weekend in Florida in a weekend filled with hazardous weather across the U.S., including high water on the Mississippi River which tested flood defenses in Iowa and Illinois as it crests in the area Monday.

In Maine, heavy rain and powerful wind gusts knocked out power for more than 50,000 homes and businesses on Monday morning. The wind gusted to 70 mph (115 kph) on Sunday near Matinicus Island, about 20 miles offshore, and to 65 mph (100 kph) onshore in Bath, where Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works has numerous cranes. Rainfall approaching 5 inches (13 centimeters) led to flood warnings on several rivers in parts of southern Maine.

Virginia Natural Gas responded to several homes with gas leaks and Dominion Energy was reporting about 250 outages around Virginia Beach on Monday morning.

The tornado touched down in the area of River Road and North Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach officials said in a social media post. Based on public safety patrols and resident reports the city said more than a dozen homes along Upper Chelsea Reach and Haversham Close were damaged.

Great Neck Road will remain closed between Cox High School and the bridge at Adam Keeling Road until further notice to allow for crews to remove debris, the city said.