Several injured, significant damage reported at Virginia Beach Oceanfront


by 13News Now Weather Authority

Posted on July 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 11 at 2:07 PM

UPDATE 7/11: Sentara spokesman Dale Gauding said Friday afternoon one patient remains in the hospital in fair condition.

VIRGINIA BEACH --  Significant structural damage was reported at the Oceanfront Thursday after an afternoon thunderstorm moved in quickly and took many people off guard. 

Eleven people were injured and six of those were transported to the hospital, spokeswoman Amy Valdez told 13News Now. 

Two of the patients are in critical condition but their injuries are not considered life-threatening, according to Sentara spokesman Dale Gauding.  Two children were injured from flying glass, a woman has a knee injury and a man has a broken ankle. 

Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital deployed its mass casualty bus and a clinical team to Virginia Beach Blvd. and Parks Avenue to help triage and transport patients.  It was the first time the bus has been deployed.

"We said 'Let's do this. Let's make it easy and simple for you guys.  That's what this bus is designed for,'" said bus manager Chris Roberts.  "We said to bring all the patients and we would sort it out.  We were able to take care of the patients.  Take the sickest of the sick and load them up and go."

Police advised residents to stay away from the Oceanfront so emergency crews could respond. 

"Police, fire and EMS, as well as public utilities/Dominion Power, need complete access," officials said. 

Valdez said nine homes and four commercial structures were damaged at the Oceanfront. 

The steeple was ripped from the roof of Beachlawn Baptist Church.  13News Now talked with the driver of this BMW after his car was hurled into the front lawn of the Oceanfront church.

"It was like a spin cycle, everything in my car just flying around -- change, money, trash, all kinds of stuff," Travis Peszko said.

On Pinewood Drive, heavy winds snapped trees like tooth picks and scattered power lines.

"People were running and taking shelter and stuff -- it was crazy,” witness Vikki Artuso said. "You see things flying in the air that shouldn't be flying and then you can hear glass breaking."

A woman escaped to safety after winds blew off the third floor of her house on 15th Street.

"They’ve since shut down the power. That house is pretty much gone,” neighbor David Haddaway said. 

Tornado or someting else?  Breaking down the Virginia Beach storm

Kimberly Bonanno posted  the following video of a funnel cloud at Strawbridge Marketplace.

More than 8,000 customers were without power in Virginia Beach around 4 p.m. but significant progress was made by work crews to get the lights back on for residents.  Several traffic lights were also out.

Learn More: Power Outages

Due to a downed tree and power line on Sandbridge Road, the Virginia Beach Police Department is facilitating an opening of the back gate of the Dam Neck Navy Installation so that access to and from Sandbridge can occur.
It is anticipated that the gate opening will be accessible to the public at 5 p.m.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms told 13News Now he hopes all the power will be back on and the roads cleared by 5 p.m. Friday.

The CBBT was operating with Level 4 wind restrictions but have since been lifted. Winds were in excess of 60 mph, officials said.

The Midtown Tunnel closed because of water in the tube, but has reopened. ERT will perform a single lane closure at the Midtown Tunnel Thursday from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Friday morning in order to perform emergency maintenance of the drain system. Traffic will alternate in each direction in the remaining open lane.