Depending on where you plan on RVing, you should form a plan for how to weather a nasty storm. In any case, the most important thing you should do, is keep yourself updated on the most current weather as much as possible to avoid surprises and prepare yourself for any bad weather that may be on its way if you are not able to escape it.
As with any emergency, you want to make sure you are prepared ahead of time. Create an emergency plan for every situation and make sure your family knows the procedures. Write out the procedures and have them either posted or stored somewhere for easy access in your RV.
Before heading out, research what the weather will be like in the places you are traveling. Two of the nastiest weather phenomena, tornadoes and hurricanes, occur in the United States from spring to late fall. There is not a specific “season” for tornadoes, but they occur most often during the spring and early summer. They mainly appear in the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Mississippi Valley and the South. If you are traveling through states like Oklahoma, Kansas and the Northern parts of Texas, Alabama or Mississippi, make sure to keep an eye on the forecast.
Hurricane season starts on June 1st and runs until November 30th in the Atlantic Ocean. However, most storms appear during the peak season, which runs from August until October. Hurricanes can hit anywhere along the gulf and east coasts, with Florida, Texas and Louisiana having been hit by the most hurricanes over the past 150 years. Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes are forecast well in advance of landfall, leaving people plenty of time to evacuate or prepare.
Besides hurricanes and tornadoes, thunderstorms are the other serious form of weather that RVers can find themselves caught in. Spring and summer are when thunderstorms are most likely, with most occurring in the afternoon and evening. Many do not pose a significant threat unless they are categorized as “severe,” in which they have one or more of the following: Hail larger than one inch in diameter, a tornado and winds above 57 mph.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS ON HAND & A GRAB BAG IN PLACE
Prepare an emergency supply kit/grab bag and place it somewhere in your camper that is easy and accessible. In your kit you should include: a portable weather radio, extra blankets, rain jackets, non-perishable packaged/canned food, can opener, flashlights, batteries, a flare gun, fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, small tool kit, necessary prescription drugs, pet supplies/food, bottled water, etc.
When bad weather takes out cell phone coverage, internet, etc., sometimes radio stations can be a big help. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NWS (National Weather Service) provide all of the information you need to know for updates, incoming storms, and emergency radio station lists. If you have mobile coverage or internet during a storm, these are great resources for your safety. If not, it would be wise to jot some of the radio stations down if you know a storm is coming. Keeping a weather alert radio in your RV is a smart decision as well.
HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY
If you find yourself caught in any kind of severe storm, make sure to have an exit plan for how to get to safety. If you are camping or at an RV resort, DO NOT try to ride out any type of severe storm in your RV. While they may seem sturdy, they do not have a foundation and can be blown over by strong winds or swept away in the event of flooding. Look for the nearest solid structure if a tornado or high winds are present. If flooding or a storm surge is imminent, seek high ground immediately.
For weather that falls below “severe” but is still serious, make sure to prepare your RV for riding out a bad storm. If you are at a campground or resort and have outside decorations or accessories lying around, bring them inside. Make sure any outdoor attachments like an awning, grill or TV are secured. Check your insurance to see what will be covered in case of any incidental damage that may occur during a storm, like a tree branch damaging your roof. Keep your emergency kit handy in case you will not be able to leave the area for an extended period of time or if your power hookup will be damaged during the storm.
RVING WITH PETS
Be sure to include your pets in your emergency plans as well. Keep a leash around, and keep them collared and ID’ed at all times. Familiarize them with their carriers and cages so they will be more willing to cooperate with confinement if the need to carry them arises. Check out our blog post for more Tips for RVing with Your Pet.
Hopefully you feel a little more prepared for bad weather while RVing after reading these tips! Let us know of any other suggestions you may have for other RVers! Enjoy your trip, and safe RV travel, no matter what type of weather you encounter.