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Outdoor Updates: Virginia Beach Tornado Clean-Up + West Virginia Principal’s Close Call with Black Bear

Virginia Beach Continues Clean-Up Efforts After Tornado Destroys Over 100 Homes

Major clean-up efforts are still underway in Virginia Beach after the area was hit by a tornado on Sunday. According to the National Weather Service, the tornado was rated an EF-3, with the highest rating being EF-5, and traveled nearly 4.5 miles in five minutes. With winds ranging between 136 mph and 165 mph, the cyclone damaged over 100 homes in the Great Neck area of the coastal town.

“We need to say how proud we are as a city and of the rapid response of so many people that came out,” Virginia Beach’s mayor Bobby Dyer said in a press conference on Monday. “Whether it be Public Safety and Public Works and just a number of people that are out there really trying to make a terrible situation tolerable for the people that were adversely affected.” 

Photo by (Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot)

The weather event ripped roofs off houses, downed power lines and trees, crushed cars, and left many without power, prompting the city to declare a local state of emergency on Monday. According to The Virginian-Pilot, officials estimate more than $15 million in residential damage. Luckily, there are still no reported injuries or deaths, but many are suffering home damage that could take anywhere from six months to over a year to repair fully. 

“After a tragic weather event…we are indeed grateful that there was not a loss of life or anyone injured,” Dyer said. “If you take a look at the devastation that’s out there, it is indeed a miracle.”

Principal of West Virginia School Finds Himself Face to Face with Black Bear in Dumpster

Principal James Marsh of Zela Elementary School was not expecting to face off with a black bear when he was unlocking the school’s trash bin Monday morning. A surveillance video shows Marsh opening the dumpster when a bear suddenly jumps out and the two run in opposite directions.

According to CBS News, the Nicholas County school had recently installed the lock after noticing some torn up garbage bags around the area. The bear was able to open and close the latch over the weekend. The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources came to enforce the locking system in hopes of avoiding another encounter. As of now, the bear has not returned to the area and Marsh had a good laugh over the video, as did the entire school. 

“I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe afterwards,” Serenity Taylor and Ava Breedlove, fifth graders at Zela Elementary School, told CBS News. “We just laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe.”

Cover photo: (Left) Photo by Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot. (Right) Screenshot of video caught by Zela Elementary School’s surveillance cameras.

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