VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach resident documented the moment an EF-3 tornado was the strongest over Haversham Close.
George Pilkington recorded the 30 second clip Sunday evening from his home on Bay Island.
“It was all within seconds,” Pilkington said. “Everything was flying, everything was airborne, rooftops and for a second I didn’t even know what I was looking at.”
He grabbed his cellphone, not thinking it was a tornado. As the twister moved closer to Broad Bay, he called for his wife to take cover.
“The guy in me wants to say, ‘Hey, I was brave. I knew exactly what it was, and I knew the plan,’ it just didn’t happen like that,” Pilkington said. “I went from watching TV to panic, grabbing dogs and trying to get my wife and my dogs down the stairs.”
WAVY TV-10 reporter Andy Fox tweeted the video. It now has more than 1 million views.
After the twister moved by, Pilkington started to call his friends in the area.
“We automatically thought the worst,” he said. “This was a complete miracle that no one was injured.”
Virginia Beach officials estimate more than $16 million in residential damage.
As the Great Neck area works to clean up and board up windows, the community is coming together.
“It is absolutely neighbors helping neighbors, and that’s what you do at this stage is really help each other that’s what it’s all about,” said Kent Reifschneider, who was cleaning up his mother-in-law’s house on Haversham Close.
Pinkington plans to drop off supplies to those with damage.
“We’re just picking up a few materials and dropping it to a friend,” Pilkington said. “If they use it great, if they don’t that’s okay too,” he said. “I don’t know what else to do, what else I can do to help.”
10 On Your Side’s team of meteorologists confirm the last confirmed tornado in Virginia Beach was an EF-2 in 2017.
Pilkington now encourages everyone to be prepared for any disaster, including tornadoes.
“We deal with nor’easters, and we deal with hurricanes, we never think about tornado,” he said. “To be honest with you, we didn’t have a plan, I picked a spot in the spur of the moment and I assumed they did too. Whatever they did they made the right choice.”