A suspected tornado ripped through parts of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Wednesday afternoon in St. Marys, Ga., leaving multiple injuries in its wake, according to the U.S. Navy.
When it was over, a number of recreational vehicles parked in the Navy base’s Eagle Hammock RV Park were upside down or torn apart, with at least one pushed by winds into a nearby lake, according to photos and video posted on Facebook.
Base officials said the tornado hit at about 5:50 p.m. on the south end of the base, impacting base facilities as well as the lakefront RV park on USS Daniel Webster Road.
About 10 people were injured when the suspected tornado hit about 12 recreational vehicles, base spokesman Chris Tucker. The RV park is used by military families and Navy retirees visiting the base.
“We have multiple RVs that were damaged, and the folks that were staying there have been displaced,” Tucker said. “We have reports that as many as 10 people were injured, and many of them were taken to local medical facilities for treatment. … They are all minor injuries at this point, which is quite the blessing.”
The suspected tornado was apparently spawned off the remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa, and came after a tornado warning was issued for Duval and Nassau counties earlier in the day by the National Weather Service. Weather service radar had tracked a tornado cell through Northeast Florida, video and images of funnel clouds caught by a Duval County School Board employee as it twirled over the westside. An employee at Pratt Guys on Philips Highway also caught video of a wide funnel cloud moving through the Southside just north of Butler Boulevard.
Kings Bay officials alerted its staff and sailors of a tornado warning before 6 p.m., telling everyone to take immediate shelter in interior parts of the building.
Tucker said first responders from Camden County came “very quickly” to the base to help with the injured.
Multiple buildings and what appears to be base housing are near the RV park, but Tucker did not know what other base facilities were impacted by the suspected storm as damage assessments continue.
This is the second tornado to hit the base in the past four years.
The weather service confirms that an EF-3 tornado struck the base on Dec. 2, 2018, injuring four people. That tornado packed winds as high as 144 mph, “the strongest tornado in recent memory within the National Weather Service Jacksonville’s area of responsibility,” the report said.
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