All Weather News

Tornado Hits Virginia Beach Friday

31 Mar 2017, 8:30 pm

At least one tornado hit the Virginia Beach area Friday causing damage to buildings, vehicles, and trees. The National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia issued a tornado warning at 5:43 p.m. eastern from an area just south of Suffolk, Virginia to just west of Chesapeake, VA. The wording was as follows:

“At 541 PM EDT, a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was
located near Downtown Suffolk, moving east at 25 mph.

This is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW!”

The National Weather Service then continued this warning east through the south side of Chesapeake and for Virginia Beach through 7 o’clock local time. There were many visual confirmations of at least one tornado from this storm system. There was also damage at Real Life Church on the southwest side of Virginia Beach, numerous cars overturned and heavy tree damage at Elbow Rd and Salem Rd, then several homes badly damaged near Tidewater Community College, and finally numerous trees down and snapped near Landstown High School. So far as of this writing we have not heard of any injuries or fatalities.

Here are some pictures WeatherNation received from the storm.

Storm damage after an apparent tornado swept through the southwestern part of Virginia Beach, VA. Photo courtesy Twitter user @wxfreak2989
A closer look at the same building in the picture above, but from a different angle and from Twitter user @happygolucky145

The National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center did an excellent job forecasting the environment for this storm. A tornado watch was issued three to four hours prior to this particular tornado touching down. Additional tornadoes reportedly touched down in northeastern North Carolina, which were within the same watch area hours prior. During the event, the National Weather Service used wording such as “observed tornado” and “particularly dangerous situation.” Those are cues for you to take the storm even more seriously. Remember, the best place to be during a tornado warning is in the lowest level of a study building, away from windows and doors, with as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

The tornado watch issued Friday afternoon, well ahead of the reports of tornadoes in southeastern VA and northeastern NC
Severe weather reports from Friday, coinciding greatly with the watch area
A closer look at the tornado reports from Friday, shown in red dots
These thunderstorms also brought big hail, up to the size of golf balls!
The severe weather potential for Saturday, April 1. *This is subject to slight adjustment.*
The severe weather potential for Sunday, April 2. *This is subject to slight variation from forecasters.*

The severe weather risk ramps up again this weekend for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana especially. It appears we are in a very active weather pattern where Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, even Friday have the potential of severe weather across the Contiguous United States. We’ll have more precise information and forecasts as those days approach. In the meantime enjoy your weekend.

For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Steve Glazier

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