Tornado Kills Three People and Dozens Are Injured in Virginia


In Virginia three people were killed and dozens were injured after tents, cabins and cars were destroyed by a tornado. The storm passed over through Cape Charles, approximately 45 miles north of Norfolk, and sent pines trees crashing into vacationing families at the Cherrystone Family Camping Resort on Thursday.

Virginia State Police announced that Lolabeth Ortega  and her husband Lord Balatbat, both 38 years old and from New Jersey, were killed after a tree fell on their tent. Also seriously injured was the couples’ 13-year-old son. About three dozen other people were hurt. Brittney Eder, Eastville Volunteer Fire Co spokeswoman, said, “So far the count is three,” but she could not identify the third person.

The authorities said those injured people were taken to hospitals and most of them had broken bones or bruises. 25 of them, including eight children, are at Shore Memorial Hospital, in Nassawadox.

National Weather Service received a warning for the area at 8:35 a.m. EDT. Joe Colony, Maryland frequent visitor of the camping, said he got an emergency message and 30 seconds after, the storm blew down 50 trees in the park. “It was a disaster,” he said. After conducting a review, the authorities reported the wind turned to Chesapeake Bay and then made its way out to sea. A meteorologist of National Weather Service said there is no chance the tornado was originated in the state.

On Wednesday dozens of homes were damaged by severe thunderstorms in Spokane, Washington. Moreover the weather conditions compromised the electrical system in the city, knocking out power to more than 60,000 people. Other thunderstorms were forecast for the northern plains, Deep South and mid-Atlantic.

According to the state Emergency Management Department, about 1,300 people were in the site when the storm hit. In the midst of summer season, the 300-acres campground on Chesapeake Bay has mini-golf, piers for fishing and pools.

“The sky turned black,” said Brittney Eder. She left the resort before the storm hit. Joe Micucci, of Washington Township, New Jersey, said he and his wife could not escape on time and they saw five campers that were flipped over. They also said the hail was the size of softballs.

The tornado blew down approximately 50 trees that hit tents, injuring dozens of vacationing families and killing three in Virginia. The Coast Guard made a statement that at least three people had been rescued and they responded to several instances of boats that had been capsized.

The state local police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, announced most of the damage was just in the campground. A school gymnasium is serving as a shelter since the storm. Amanda Blankenship, whose husband is a firefighter in Eastville, said “a lot of people were still in their beds because it was very scary.”

Hospitals in Virginia Beach and Norfolk have received just three patients, but had been prepared for somewhat casualty. Peter Gargola, who works as spokesman on Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, said they are expecting more patients in there. This hospital is located 30 minutes north of the site.

The tornado was accompanied by heavy rains that overturned a trailer on a highway nearby the campground. Brian Moran, the Virginia secretary of public safety, announced after three people were killed and dozens got injured by a tornado hail storm the state government are “thankful that there was not more damage.”

By Murillo Moret

Chicago Tribune
The New York Times


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