CAPE CHARLES, Va. (USA TODAY) — Two people died after tornado touched down Thursday in an Eastern Shore campground, Virginia State Police said.
Around 10 a.m., rescue squads still were finding people injured and at least 20 people already were in a triage area, emergency officials responding to Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort said.
The area around the campground where the twister hit was under a tornado warning at the time, according to the National Weather Service. Weather service radar had shown a waterspout over Chesapeake Bay a little before 9 a.m. ET that prompted the alert.
"Several children have been injured at the campground. I don't know how many, but they have called for several ambulances to go there," said Amanda Blankenship of the Eastville Volunteer Fire Co. here.
This is the first killer tornado in Virginia since April 2011 and one of deadliest in the state since 1950, AccuWeather meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said.
Hospitals across the bay in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va., have been preparing to care for the injured, some that were classified as Priority 1 serious injuries, Blankenship said.
"Three Sentara hospitals are making mass casualty preparations — Sentara Norfolk General, Sentara Virginia Beach General and Sentara Leigh," Sentara spokesman Dale Gauding said. "We anticipate multiple patients, but will not know how many until they arrive at each hospital."
Winds also caused a truck to overturn north of Cape Charles along U.S. 13 in nearby Cheriton, Va., and the driver was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries, according to Corrine Geller, Virginia State Police spokeswoman.
U.S. 13 was littered with debris and hail that ranged from the size of a quarter to a golfball, witnesses said.
"Debris was flying down the street — our chairs, beach balls. We lost power," said Linda Wenners Zaremski, who lives at Marina Villages across Kings Creek from Cherrystone campground. She saw large pieces of hail fall in her yard.
The 50-year-old campground has cottages, camping cabins and rental trailers in addition to providing camping for tents and recreational vehicles on 300 acres along the Chesapeake about 15 miles from the southern tip of the Eastern Shore that divides the bay from the Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier this month, Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory named it one of three top RV parks for 2014.
Officials did not have information readily available on the number of campers vacationing at the resort.
Contributing: Malissa Watterson and Jan Diem, The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times