Witness: Tornado sucked items from hotel

Posted at 2:11 AM, Jun 02, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-02 02:29:22-04

HAMPTON, Va. (WTVR) – A Hampton resident described the harrowing moments leading up to and after a tornado ripped through the city Friday.

Bill Honeywell told a WTKR-TV reporter that he spotted a dark cloud approaching the marina while he was waiting to attend the Pirate Festival downtown

“This is not looking good,” said Honeywell.

Honeywell said that at one point, the hotel staff said everyone had to get inside and take cover. He said the group knew there was a possibility for tornadoes, but what happened next took everyone by surprise. [BONUS: Check out these videos of reported tornadoes across Va.]

“Next thing you know, things started getting sucked out of the hotel -- the dinner carts and stuff were just rolling out the door,” he said. “We’re like ‘Oh crap.’”

After the ordeal, people started making their way back outside to inspect the damage.

Honeywell said Amory’s Seafood Market was badly damaged and that siding was ripped off the building. He also said boats and canopies were all torn up.

“People were getting out just getting out and freaking out about what was happening,” said Honeywell.

However, it was at this point that Honeywell realized that the tornado had likely torn through his neighborhood.

“Screw the boat, let’s get back to our house and find out what’s going on,” he said. “And that’s when we came down in here and found all this mess.”

Once he got home, Honeywell said that his neighborhood looked much worse than it did after Hurricane Isabelle. He found numerous trees were down in the neighborhood.

In fact, he said a large tree had toppled in his backyard and crashed into his house, damaging part of the roof. The other part of the tree landed in a neighbor’s yard.

Honeywell said that his roof would have to be replaced, but that the damage could have been worse.

Also, one neighbor, ended up with numerous branches, trash cans and other debris in a recently installed pool.

Honeywell said he would be out accessing the damage in the morning to see what folks can do to start cleaning up.