Meteorologist Bill Sammler said Friday an examination of the damage caused by the storm revealed that a twister with winds of 70 to 75 mph lashed the tourist city. He said the tornado was rated an EF-0.
About a dozen people required hospital treatment for injuries.
The storm also ripped the siding off homes, toppled utility poles and blew out some windows at oceanfront hotels and businesses.
Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Amy Valdez said a church even had its steeple knocked down.
Police closed off several blocks of the city while damage was assessed and told the public to stay away.
In addition to wind damage, the storm also caused street flooding in Virginia Beach, making some roads impassable.
Dominion Virginia Power reported more than 5,000 customers were without power in southeastern Virginia late Thursday, with about 3,700 of those in Virginia Beach.
Thursday's was the second tornado over the past week to hit Virginia Beach. The weather service previously confirmed an EF-0 tornado there early in the morning of July 4 from Hurricane Arthur's rain bands.
It carried winds of 65 to 85 mph as it moved into the area briefly, toppling trees, damaging siding and buildings. But no injuries were reported.