EXTRA: County Declares Local Emergency

Overturned camper at Cherrystone Campground (Photo: Jordan Bertok)

Overturned camper at Cherrystone Campground (Photo: Jordan Bertok)

July 24, 2014



WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Northampton does hereby find that due to the tornado which occurred on July 24, 2014, the County of Northampton is facing a condition of extreme peril which necessitates the proclamation of the existence of an emergency in order to provide mitigation, preparedness, and activities to protect life and property;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY PROCLAIMED that an emergency now exists throughout said County; and

IT IS FURTHER PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED that during the existence of said emergency the powers, functions, and duties of the Director of Emergency Services, and the Peacetime Emergency organization of the County of Northampton shall be those prescribed by state law and the ordinances, resolutions, and approved plans of the County of Northampton in order to mitigate the effects of said emergency.

Date:  July 24,  2014
Chairman, Board of Supervisors
County of Northampton
Commonwealth of Virginia

Northampton County issued the following press release at 11 a.m.:

At approximately 8:30 this morning, a tornado struck the Cherrystone area just north of Cape Charles, VA, and moved across the lower Eastern Shore (DelMarVa Peninsula) toward the east over parts of Cheriton. The area impacted includes some of the more populated neighborhoods in the county. Early reports indicate heavy damage was sustained. A tornado alert was issued just before the storm hit. However, one heavily impacted area was a concentration of camp vehicles along the Chesapeake Bay.


A count of residents/visitors at Cherrystone Campground was listed at 1,328 as of last night.    At this time, two fatalities have been confirmed and approximately 150-175 people, who have lost their shelter, are being transported from the campground to a local emergency shelter.

Damages can be reported to the County’s Emergency Management Office at 757-678-0442.

UPDATE: According to WESR, two victims of the Cherrystone tornado were husband and wife Lord Belatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, both 38 years old, of Jersey City, New Jersey, after a tree fell on their tent in which they were seeking shelter. Their 13-year-old son was in another tent and was critically injured.


As of 8:45 p.m. this evening, we have made lodging arrangements for all families impacted by this tragedy. The emergency shelter is closing effective 9 p.m. tonight. CHERRYSTONE CAMPGROUND IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Thanks to all those who made donations of water, food, clothing and other items for those impacted by this event. We have ceased accepting these types of donations; however, the Red Cross will be accepting cash donations for the families of this tragedy. We confirm that two fatalities were sustained and 30+ patients were transported to various area hospitals. 



4 Responses to “EXTRA: County Declares Local Emergency”

  1. Pamela Barefoot on July 25th, 2014 6:47 am

    How can funds be given directly to the family of the children who lost their parents?

  2. Deborah Bender on July 25th, 2014 7:47 am

    Many homes were damaged and destroyed on Old Cherrystone road and on Wilkins Drive. My daughter’s home on Wilkins Drive had the entire roof ripped off her front porch and her car was heavily damaged from the hail.
    The roof from her porch was found in the backyard upside down.
    Many homes on Wilkins Drive had trees fall on them and one home was destroyed.
    What a bad day we had on the Eastern Shore but the first responders were great and the way volunteers poured out to help made me so proud.

  3. Patti Moore on July 25th, 2014 12:23 pm

    Prayers from Maine, Debbie, for your daughter and her family — so glad they are all OK though. As hard as it must be, Things can be replaced in time. Thinking about all of you and wishing Harry and I were there to help out — hard to be so far away from our “home away from home” at times like this. So proud of the volunteers and first responders, very special people for sure.

  4. Pamela Barefoot on July 25th, 2014 3:03 pm

    A fund for the three children of the couple who were killed on Virginia’s Eastern Shore has been set up at PNC Bank. All monies contributed will be distributed to the court-appointed legal guardian of the children. Please share this request with all Eastern Shore folks as well as people who love camping…let’s pull together and help these kids who have lost their parents! Mail checks (or hand deliver) to:

    Balatbat-Ortega Children’s Fund
    PNC Bank
    PO Box 623
    Onley, VA 23418