VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been six months since an EF-3 tornado touched down in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach.
Several homes had to be demolished on Haversham Close, while other residents are still making repairs.
The tornado touched down around 5:45 p.m. Sunday, April 30. The National Weather Service estimated the winds were likely between 140 and 150 mph. City officials estimate it caused nearly $16 million in damage.
Eric Joffe said he and his wife weren’t home when the tornado hit, but when they came back that night, their front porch was covered in debris. It wasn’t from their home, but from homes across the street.
He’s been making repairs for several months now, and even got a new railing installed Monday.
The homes directly across the street from Joffe had to be demolished.
“I know the people who live there in these houses, so it’s more than just seeing a house,” Joffe said. “The good thing is now at least they’re getting a house that is suitable for them. They’ve been there for about thirty years and they’re older and they wanted first floor primary suites and things like that and so at least there’s some silver lining.”
Down the street on Duke of York Quay, Virginia Sutton — who goes by Ginny — is admiring her new foundation after her home was recently demolished. She and her husband were home when the tornado hit.
“We ran for the hall and this had a very long hallway, and we just dove and put our hands over our heads,” Ginny Sutton said.
Six months later, she said the rebuilding process is taking longer than expected.
“Did I think it was going to take this long — because it was five and a half months and two weeks before they broke ground? No. I thought it was going to be a whole lot quicker,” she said.
She said it took awhile to get the permits issued, something other homeowners say they’re dealing with too.
“The builders didn’t want to hurt their license so they asked us, will you step up and help push this along and me — I said sure, it’s my home,” Ginny Sutton said.
Joffe is a contractor and is also working on a few his neighbor’s homes that had to be demolished across the street. He said plans for the homes are with the city right now and he’s hoping to get permits within the next week, but said they’re running out of time.
“It’s a bit worrying that one of the houses we’re building down the road we only got to demolish fairly late — probably two months ago — and there’s no way we can build or design a new house and design in the two months we have left,” Joffe said. “I’ve been in touch with the city to find out if there’s any chance of the waiver being extended.”
Ginny Sutton told 10 On Your Side she hopes to be back in her home in six to eight months, while others say their process could take a lot longer.