UNITED STATES NEWS

Tornadoes in Virginia and Florida, flooding in other states

May 1, 2023, 1:33 AM | Updated: 4:24 pm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (AP) — A rare and powerful tornado sent residents of a coastal city in Virginia fleeing for cover over the weekend as it peeled roofs from buildings and pushed homes from their foundations.

It was the most powerful tornado ever to hit Virginia Beach, Virginia, officials confirmed Monday. No one was reported injured, despite few residents being prepared for tornadoes. Several people described taking cover under stairwells; most lack basements because the water table is so high.

Wreckage from destructive weather dotted the U.S. Monday as officials took stock of unrelated tornadoes and Maine.

In Virginia Beach, 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.

“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.”

No injuries were reported.

Elsewhere, officials were assessing damage Monday in West Virginia, Maine, Florida and California. The National Weather Service confirmed Mississippi River is testing flood defenses in Iowa and Illinois as the river crests in the area Monday.

West Virginia’s eastern mountains could see up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow Tuesday morning as a rare May winter storm moves through, forecasters said. The snow won’t help the area’s ski resorts, which had already closed for the season.

In California, a late-season weather system brought showers and the possibility of high-elevation snow in the Sierra Nevada through the week. Fears of flooding shut down of parts of Yosemite Valley over the weekend. But the National Park Service said the Merced River did not rise as much as expected and the valley reopened on Monday.

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

The Virginia Beach tornado damaged at least 100 buildings, tearing through them with wind speeds as high as 150 mph (240 kph), officials assessing the wreckage and weather data said Monday. 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’s the first tornado to be rated that high, according to NOAA records, with wind gusts exceeding those of the largest hurricanes recorded around the city.

A.T. Price, 73, was at his stove making tacos Sunday when his phone started to buzz with severe weather alerts. At first, he pooh-poohed it.

“But it kept buzzing and buzzing. I checked it again and it says, ’Immediate danger. Tornado down,’” Price said. He dove into the closet below his first-floor stairwell, crouching into a fetal position under his winter coats.

“I heard the freight-train sound, and it sounded like it was going right over the house,” Price said. “I would tell people to heed those alerts.”

Virginia Beach Director of Emergency Management David Topczynski said Monday that the city got lucky because the storm blew in Sunday during a music festival, where an emergency operation center was already set up, allowing for a swift response.

The tornado caused an estimated $15 million in residential damage, with nine homes destroyed, the city said in a Monday afternoon news release. Another 36 homes sustained major damage that made them unlivable, while “many more” had significant damage, the city said.

___

This story has been corrected to show that at least 100 buildings in Virginia Beach were reported to be damaged, not destroyed.

United States News

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, second right, steps off a U.S. Air F...

Associated Press

US ambassador visits Haiti to meet new leaders and Kenyan police helping to curb gang violence

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations traveled to Haiti on Monday to meet leaders of the new transitional government and the Kenyan police who are the vanguard of a U.N.-backed force meant to help the country’s national police curb widespread gang violence. A senior U.S. administration official said Ambassador Linda […]

2 minutes ago

FILE - Hunter Biden arrives at federal court, June 3, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. Hunter Biden has dr...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden drops lawsuit against Fox News over explicit images featured in streaming series

NEW YORK (AP) — Hunter Biden has dropped a lawsuit accusing Fox News of illegally publishing explicit images of him as part of a streaming series. An attorney for the president’s son filed a voluntary dismissal notice on Sunday in federal court in New York City, three weeks after the lawsuit was filed. It wasn’t […]

23 minutes ago

Associated Press

Nashville-area GOP House race and Senate primaries top Tennessee’s primary ballot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A first-term Tennessee congressman backed by former President Donald Trump will face a Republican challenger who calls the lawmaker ineffective, a contest that is among the top races in the state’s August primary election. The primary will also cement who will be the Democratic contender in the fall matchup for the […]

31 minutes ago

Associated Press

One teen is killed and eight others are wounded in shooting at Milwaukee park party, police say

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A 17-year-old girl was killed and eight other teenagers were wounded early Monday in a shooting at a Milwaukee park where dozens of young people had gathered for a party, police said. Officers and first responders found the girl dead and eight other shooting victims at Dineen Park on the city’s west […]

37 minutes ago

Associated Press

Secret Service director says Trump assassination attempt was biggest agency ‘failure’ in decades

WASHINGTON (AP) — The director of the Secret Service says the assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was the agency’s “most significant operational failure” in decades. Director Kimberly Cheatle told lawmakers Monday during a congressional hearing: “On July 13, we failed.” Cheatle says she takes full responsibility for the agency’s missteps related to the […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

US investigating some Jeep and Ram vehicles after getting complaints of abrupt engine stalling

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that some Ram pickup trucks and Jeep Wagoneer SUVs can lose power, shift into park and apply the emergency brake. The probe announced Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers about 150,000 vehicles made by Stellantis from the 2022 model year. All have […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Tornadoes in Virginia and Florida, flooding in other states