NJ couple identified as victims of Virginia tornado - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

NJ couple identified as victims of Virginia tornado

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(Source: Joe Buttner) (Source: Joe Buttner)
(Source: Joe Buttner) (Source: Joe Buttner)
CHERITON, VA (WWBT/AP) -

A New Jersey couple was identified as the victims of a tornado that hit the Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort in Northampton.

Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, both 38, were killed, state police said. Their 13-year-old son has life-threatening injuries. 

The tornado touched down at the campground on the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday morning killing at least two people and injuring 31.

The National Weather Service believes the tornado was an EF1 based on the preliminary investigation, which means winds were between 86 and 110 miles per hour.

The Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort in rural Northampton County has been evacuated as crews clean up from the massive damage, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 

Northampton officials declared a local emergency saying the county is "facing a condition of extreme peril." A National Weather Service storm team is headed to the area to survey the damage.

One patient was flown to VCU Medical Center in Richmond from Riverside Regional Medical Center, a spokesperson for the Newport News facility said. Peter Glagola described the patient as "very critical."

Riverside Regional also treated 26 others. Another patient was taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General, and two others were taken to Sentara Norfolk General, according to WAVY

Officials have not released any details about the identities of the victims at this point.

Police said 1,328 campers and 40 staff members were at the campground when the tornado hit. State Police say trees crashed onto several campers, causing some to overturn. Troopers also found numerous downed trees and power lines across roads.

Around 150 to 175 people lost their shelter and are being bussed to a nearby school for shelter, while authorities search the site for any additional injured persons. 

"My public safety team and I are continuing to monitor and respond to the situation on the Eastern Shore following today's severe weather event," said Governor Terry McAuliffe.
"We are all saddened by the reports of injuries and lives lost in this storm and will continue to offer our thoughts and prayers to the Virginia families who were affected, along with whatever support is necessary to help these communities move forward."

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for the area that expired at 9 a.m. Residents in Cheriton began calling State Police with reports of severe damage. One teen posted a video to YouTube, showing hail falling in the area during the storm.

While the National Weather Services hasn't confirmed a tornado, NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden says the radar signature plus images of damage strongly points to this being a tornado.

The campsite on the Delmarva Peninsula sits on 300 acres and has been open for 50 years. It includes 725 sites including cabins, cottages, and deluxe campers. 

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