Living, traveling and camping in an RV can present anxious moments in the event of significant weather events. Severe weather events can pop up and escalate quickly; catching you and your family off-guard if you’re not prepared. RVers and campers must always have a plan of action in dealing with inclement weather responsibly. Knowing when to seek shelter or evacuate will be key to not becoming a statistic and can save you and your family’s lives.
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Since we’ve been full-timing, we’ve had to evacuate our RV numerous times. We had to pack up our kitties, bring in the slides, secure our utilities and bolt for the nearest storm shelter. In this article, we’ll share our lifesaving weather tips that will make you think twice about hunkering down to ride out the storm.
Severe Weather Tips for RVers and Campers
Before we proceed with our severe weather tips, let’s first dive right into knowing the difference in the stages of weather and knowing when is the right time to act accordingly.
Know the Four Stages of Weather
SEEK SHELTER! DO NOT STAY IN YOUR RV!
Now that we know the four stages of weather, let’s get onto our severe weather preparation tips that RVers and campers should follow in the event of impending storm, tornado, hurricane, flash floods and other significant weather events.
Severe Weather Preparation Tips
The first severe weather preparation tip is to know where storm shelters are located either before you arrive at or immediately after you park your RV. At campgrounds and RV parks, they usually are inside brick and mortar bath houses or community rooms.
However, if you’re on the road traveling in your RV, the best thing you can do is get off the road immediately and safely. Try to head in the direction away from the storm if possible. Find a safe exit and place to park to wait out the storm. Remember, if there is flying debris from high wind, you may encounter road debris that may puncture your tires or damage your RV or vehicle. Also be aware of low lying flood zones. It would be wise to seek high ground should the local weather broadcast warn of flash flooding.
If you’re trying to find a safe location to park your RV, try to find a large brick and mortar building. Parking on the leeward side (on or toward the side sheltered from the wind) will help protect your motorhome or camper from the wind and blowing debris.
TUNE INTO LOCAL WEATHER BROADCASTS
Should inclement severe weather be approaching, it’s wise to tune into local weather broadcasts on your television, radio or smartphone weather app.
STOW OUTDOOR CAMPING GEAR
I can’t stress this enough. And I say this boldly because our RV fell victim to wind damage in Kentucky several years prior. Another camper’s dining canopy tent ended up puncturing a hole into our RV sidewall. But more damage ensued when torrential rains force water inside our RV causing water damage.
So, please, stow all of your camp chairs, tiki torches, coolers, fire pits, tables, tents and canopies and any other outdoor RV gear that may become projectiles.
SECURE RV UTILITIES – PULL IN SLIDES
In the event that you need to evacuate your RV, we recommend disconnecting your electric power cord from the pedestal. Also, disconnect your water and sewer hose as if you were packing up to leave. Pull in your RV slideouts and put any antennae down. Secure your steps inside your RV. For potential insurance purposes, you may want to take a photo of your RV parked at your campsite or location showing the condition before the storm.
WEAR PROPER SAFETY GEAR
As safety minded RVers, we highly recommend not wearing flip flops or sandals for evacuation procedures. It’s wise to wear closed toe sturdy shoes. In the event of wind damage, you may have to deal with stepping through murky water or over storm debris.
EVACUATION BUG OUT BAG or GO BAG
Anytime you are called to evacuate your RV, it’s imperative to be prepared. Having your evacuation bug out bag or Emergency Go Bag should be at the top your list of must-dos. Collecting necessary and lifesaving items should be done (or already packed) immediately. Don’t forget to include important documents like your insurance policies, health information, and identification. Pack your Emergency Go Bag accordingly to fit you or your family’s needs (i.e. baby items, medical supplies, pets, etc.). Oh, and don’t forget your RV keys so you can get back in after the storm.
Roadside Emergency Gear
It’s equally important for you to have your getaway vehicle stocked with essential roadside emergency gear should you need to pull over for safety or breakdowns.
You may want to check out our:
Helpful Severe Weather Preparation Timelines
We put together two different timelines with added measures to prepare for any severe weather.
If you have +24 hours notice of impending severe weather or storm:
- Evaluate your surroundings immediately.
- Tune into local weather broadcasting stations.
- Pack your Emergency Go Bag.
- Have shoes, jackets or rain gear readily available.
- Stow outdoor camping gear (i.e. camp chairs, tables, grill, fire pit, etc.)
- Contact family or friends back home to let them know where you are or where you are headed.
- Charge all cellphones, electronic devices and battery banks.
- Refuel vehicles.
- Withdraw $$ from an ATM.
- Pack extra water in your vehicle.
- Pack a snack bag with nonperishable items (granola bars, protein snacks, peanut butter packs, tuna packs, etc.).
- Seek higher ground if you’re near a river, ocean, washes or flash flood area.
- Stay Calm
If you have less than 1 hour notice of impending severe weather or storm:
- Know or situate you and your family near the closest storm shelter.
- Tuned into local weather broadcast stations.
- All members of your party should put sturdy, closed-toe shoes on. Skip the flip flops; you may return to debris fields or campsites.
- Jackets and/or rain gear should be readily available.
- Your Emergency Go Bag should be packed and at the door ready to go or in your vehicle.
- Portable pet kennels should be in your vehicle and leashes should be ready for your pets.
- Each family member should visit the bathroom.
- Take pets out to relieve themselves.
- Secure and stow outdoor gear.
Your RV is the worst place to be in a tornado, hurricane, flood, high wind or other severe weather!
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