ST. MARY’S, Ga. (WSAV) — An EF-2 tornado reached its maximum intensity Wednesday evening at an RV park on Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Nine people were injured, said base spokesperson Chris Tucker, eight of whom were taken to hospitals. Some have since been released and others were kept for observation, he added.
Base officials initially believed at least 10 people had been injured in total.
Surveying the damage from Tropical Storm Elsa, the NWS found that the tornado touched down along East. St. Mary’s Street, snapping tree trunks, before strengthening to EF-2 intensity.
The tornado reached peak intensity and width at the Eagle Hammock RV Park, surveyors reported, with max sustained winds of 130 mph.
At least two RVs were flipped completely upside down, several trees snapped and debris was scattered throughout the park. The NWS says one RV and a pickup truck were flipped and blown about 200 feet into a lake north of the park.
Sergio Rodriguez, who lives near the RV park, said he raced to the scene fearing friends staying at the park might be hurt. He called the scene “utter chaos.”
The Camden County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is asking members of the public to refrain from damaging tornado-damaged areas.
“This includes well-meaning and much-appreciated groups and volunteers that seek to assist with debris removal,” Camden County EMA tweeted. “Damage assessments are still ongoing and everyone’s safety is of paramount importance. Hazards still exist in this area.”
Further details on the extent of the injuries residents sustained during the storm are unclear at this time.
According to Kings Bay, all personnel who were staying in the RV park have been accounted for.
“While the situation here is still very dynamic, I want to thank all of our first responders and Camden County first responders for their quick actions,” said Capt. Chester Parks, commanding officer at the base. “Their quick response most certainly helped.”
Contributions to this report by The Associated Press