Deadly tornado tears through campground in Cape Charles, Va.

Overview:

  • Tornado ripped through a campground near Cape Charles, Virginia between roughly 8:30 and 8:40 a.m.
  • Numerous campers were overturned. 1,328 people were listed as residents or visitors on the campground
  • Two people are confirmed dead; more than 20 reportedly injury
  • A tornado warning was issued at 8:20 a.m. from the National Weather Service; a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch had not been in effect prior to the warning

3:35 p.m. update: The National Weather Service office in Wakefield, Va. – which serves southeast, Va. – has confirmed both tornado and straight-line wind damage from the storm.

2:50 p.m. update:  Here is some raw video showing the aftermath of the storms…

2:20 p.m. update: A horrifying view of the scene:

1:35 p.m. update: Here are two views of the tornadic storm:

From 3-D radar (via Stu Ostro):

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From space (via NOAA):

(NOAA)

(NOAA)

1:08 p.m. update: Photo from the wreckage:

12:35 p.m. update: More information on the storm: Two die after tornado strikes campground near Cape Charles in Virginia from Washington Post reporter Victoria St. Martin.

11:50 a.m. update: Here is video of large hail and strong winds occurring on the campground during the tornadic storm:

 

11:15 a.m. update: WAVY is now reporting at least 2 fatalities occurred and 20 injuries, as opposed to three confirmed deaths per its statement in an earlier report.

10:55 a.m. update: CWG’s Ian Livingston reports the three fatalities from this tornado are the most in Virginia since April 27, 2011 when three people died in twister near in Abingdon, in the southwest portion of the state. It ties with the 2011 tornado for the third most deaths from any tornado to strike Virginia since 1950.

It’s unlikely this twister was particularly strong, but campgrounds – due to lack of shelter – are among the most vulnerable places to be during a tornado (along with trailer parks).  Unfortunately, lead time for this tornado could not have been long – probably 15 minutes based on the time of warning issuance (8:20 a.m.) and the time the tornado likely touched down (around 8:36 a.m. - post storm survey will provide confirmation).  No tornado or severe thunderstorm watch had been issued ahead  of the storm.

10:25 a.m. update: WAVY is reporting three people are confirmed dead from this tornado:

The Eastville Volunteer Fire Department confirmed three people were killed at Cherrystone Campground during severe weather Thursday morning. A spokesperson did not have any information about the victims, including their sex or ages.

Capital Weather Gang Facebook follower Kristen Wright Klipfer shared this report with us:

We are in Cape Charles across from the campground. It was a huge storm with high winds and golf ball hail. Did not see the tornado but there is a lot of damage around. We had very little warning that any storm, much less one that big, was coming.

Original post, from 9:59 a.m.

A tornado ripped through a campground near Cape Charles, Virginia just before 9 a.m. this morning.  Hampton Roads TV affiliate WAVY and emergency officials report the twister overturned campers and caused numerous injuries. Affiliate WVEC reports several children are among the injured.

Eyewitness photographs from the scene offer a glimpse of the damage:

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 8:20 a.m. for parts of Northhampton County in Southeast Virginia as doppler radar detected a tornado.

A tornado or severe thunderstorm watch had not been issued prior to this warning.

The twister tore across Cherrystone Campground in Cheriton and the parent thunderstorm produced golf ball-sized hail.  Cheriton is about one mile from Cape Charles, which sits on the southernmost point of the Delmarva Peninsula, very close the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, connecting the Delmarva and Hampton Roads area.

(Google)

(Google)

WAVY is also reporting overturned boats in Oyster Bay, north of Cape Charles.

A strong cold front is pushing through the region this morning, triggering vigorous thunderstorms.  Heavy rain continues to move through the area but the potential for severe thunderstorms has diminished.

For additional updates, Hampton Roads TV affiliate is live blogging on the severe weather/twister: LIVE BLOG: Tornado touches down in Cherrystone Family Camping Resort in Cape Charles

WAVY is also providing breaking news updates on this storm: 2 confirmed dead at Cherrystone Campground

 

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