CHERITON, Va. (WJZ) — Wind, rain and very little warning. A tornado barrels across the Chesapeake Bay and slams into a campground on Virginia’s eastern shore just below Maryland.
More than 1,300 people were in its path with only tents and RVs for shelter.
Christie Ileto has more on the lives lost and the child fighting to stay alive.
Cell phone video shows campers on Virginia’s eastern shore bracing for safety Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service says an EF-1 twister with winds as strong as 110 miles per hour ripped through the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort, strangling homes in nearby neighborhoods with downed powerlines and snapped trees.
“All of a sudden the winds started picking up and then it got raining and big balls of hail were going everywhere,” one woman said.
Three dozen people were injured and Virginia officials say a New Jersey couple’s vacation quickly became a nightmare when a tree fell on their tent, killing them.
“Their 13-year-old son was in a neighboring tent. He has life-threatening injuries,” said Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police spokesperson.
Mark McGill and his family narrowly escaped the dark skies above and lived to tell the tale.
“A tree fell right on the car,” he said. “It hit [my daughter’s] window and glass went all over her. She was bloody and a mess.”
Officials say more than 1,300 people were at the site when the twister hit and that a tornado alert was issued just before the storm.
But some say they only found out seconds earlier.
“The sirens have not stopped coming since we’ve been here,” one man said.
Emergency crews continue to evacuate uninjured campers to a shelter nearby. The campsite is saying everyone is accounted for.
This is the first killer tornado in Virginia since April 2011.
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