A powerful EF-3 tornado struck Virginia Beach, Virginia, on April 30, 2023, damaging 115 homes and destroying 12. This is the most powerful tornado ever to hit the city, officials said on May 1.
A powerful EF-3 tornado ripped through the city of Virginia Beach on Sunday afternoon (LT), April 30, 2023, causing significant destruction. The twister hurled mounds of debris through the air, blew roofs off homes, downed trees, overturned cars, and capsized boats, forcing city officials to declare a local state of emergency.
One person was trapped in a vehicle near Great Neck Middle School after a branch fell on their car, but no injuries have been reported. Many residents credited a cellphone warning system for helping them take shelter in time. One family escaped injuries by reacting to a weather alert that came less than a minute before the tornado hit.
The National Weather Service (NWS) conducted a damage survey for the tornado in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach. The tornado was rated as EF-3 with an estimated peak wind of 233 km/h (145 mph), a path length of 7.24 km (4.5 miles), and a maximum path width of 320 m (350 yards).
The tornado formed over the eastern branch of Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach and moved up River Road as an EF-1, passing by the Great Neck Recreation Center. It increased to an EF-2 intensity as it moved into the Chelsea neighborhood and continued onto Haversham Close with EF-3 intensity. In this area, several homes were shifted off their foundations, and roofs and upper walls were completely removed.
The tornado then crossed Broad Bay and the eastern portion of Bay Island, clipping Windward Shore Drive as an EF-1. It moved over First Landing State Park and into Fort Story as an EF-1, snapping trees, damaging barracks, and damaging several other buildings before moving offshore.
1 PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA – 254 PM EDT MON MAY 1 2023
2 Tornadoes in Virginia and Florida, flooding in other states – AP – May 2, 2023
Featured image credit: Virginia Beach Fire Department
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