Weather Emergency Preparation Tips for RVers

When there’s an impending severe storm, tornado warning or hurricane is about to make landfall, you and your family need to be prepared and ready to evacuate. Because staying in your RV or camper during severe weather or major storms could put your and your family’s lives at risk. With these lifesaving weather emergency preparation tips, you’ll learn how not to become a statistic.

Since we’ve been full-timing, we’ve had to evacuate our RV numerous times due to severe weather and several tornado warnings. We’d pack up our kitties, bring in the slides, secure our utilities and bolt for the nearest storm shelter. We’ve actually mastered the practice.

So, we’ll share our lifesaving severe weather RV tips that will make you think twice about hunkering down in your motorhome or camper to ride out the storm. Because seriously, if you do, you will go for a ride you’ll never forget…if you live through it!

Severe Weather RV Tips

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Weather Emergency Preparation Tips for RVers

Before we proceed with our severe weather tips, let’s first dive right into knowing the difference in the stages of weather. And, we’ll share when it’s the right time to evacuate your RV or camper.

weather phone app

Know the Four Stages of Weather

WEATHER OUTLOOK

Issued when hazardous weather event is possible in the next week. Outlooks are intended to raise awareness of potential for severe weather that could threaten life or propertyIf you’re planning on traveling to or camping in an area that the weather outlook isn’t promising, you may want to keep close attention as the time draws near(er) to help you decide if it’s worth it to even go.
 

WEATHER ADVISORY

Issued when hazardous weather event will be occurring, imminent or likely. Advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings that cause significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, could threaten life or property.

If you’re traveling to or parking your RV where there is a weather advisory, you may want to think about diverting your travel plans or relocating your camping location. Why put yourself, your family and your RV in the path of a potential weather emergency.

WEATHER WATCH

Issued when the risk of hazardous weather event has increased significantly but it’s occurrence, location or timing is still uncertain. You should have a plan of immediate action in case a storm threatens.

 Listen for information and possible warnings especially when planning travel or outdoor activities. If you’re headed into a weather watch location, we strongly urge you to tune into your local weather broadcast for up-to-date information.

It would be prudent to collect things for your emergency bug out bag. Have your jackets or rain gear ready and shoes easily accessible. You and your family will need to be ready to evacuate at moment’s notice as a weather watch can quickly escalate to a weather warning.

WEATHER WARNING

Issued when a hazardous weather event is occurring, imminent or likely.  A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property.  People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.

When the weather channel posts ‘Warning’ (ie. Tornado Warning, Storm Warning), local sirens may sound off. News outlets may advise you to seek shelter.

You need to evacuate your RV and relocate your family and your pets to the nearest storm shelter immediately. Don’t forget to take your bug out bag, rain gear and protective gear.
Severe Weather - Overturned Camper
We took this photo the day after a surprise flash flood in Bandera, Texas. Thankfully, no one was injured. – Photo by Always On Liberty.

Now that we know the four stages of weather, let’s move onto our severe weather preparation tips that RVers and campers should follow in the event of an impending storm, tornado, hurricane, and flash flood.

Weather Emergency Preparation Tips

 

LOCATE SHELTER

Weather - Storm Shelter

Our first severe weather 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 or hurricane be approaching, it’s wise to tune into local weather broadcasts on your television, radio or smartphone weather app.

Read more: 8 Most Popular Weather Apps for RV Travelers

STOW ALL OUTDOOR GEAR

Weather - Outdoor Camping Chairs

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, camp stove, grillfire pit, tables, tents and canopies and any other outdoor RV gear that may become projectiles. Even those who are seasonal campers, you’ll need to stow your potted plants as well.

SECURE RV UTILITIES  & PULL IN SLIDE-OUTS

Secure Utilities

In the event that you need to evacuate your RV, we recommend disconnecting your electric power cord from the pedestal. Also, shut off, disconnect and stow your water and sewer hose as if you were packing up to leave. Pull in your RV slide-outs and put your television antenna down. You’ll also want to stow your satellite dish if you have one. And don’t forget to secure your RV steps.

For insurance purposes, take a photo of your RV parked at your campsite or location showing the condition before the storm.

PREPARE TO EVACUATE

Emergency Supplies

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.

Necessary and lifesaving items should be collected and 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.

It’s also necessary for you to have your getaway vehicle full of fuel and stocked with essential roadside emergency gear should you need to pull over for severe weather safety or breakdown. Also, it would be a good idea to know exactly where your first aid kit is. 

Lastly, we highly recommend everyone in your camping party to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes before evacuating your RV. Leave the flip flops and sandals at home or in your RV. In the event of severe weather, you may have to deal with stepping through murky water or over storm debris.

Now, it’s time to evacuate. Make sure you have all of your emergency items with you, kids and pets have their supplies and head to a storm shelter.

Helpful Severe Weather Emergency 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 all 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 bank.
      • Refuel all 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.).
      • Secure your propane.
      • 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 family members should put sturdy, closed-toe shoes on.
      • 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.
      • Prepare to evacuate

You and your family need to seek shelter immediately upon hearing local emergency sirens or when the weather professionals instruct you to do so. Do NOT remain in your RV or camper during a severe weather emergency! An RV is the worst place to be in a tornado, hurricane, flood, straight-line winds or any other severe weather.

Severe Weather - Camper RV on side
We witnessed this aftermath in Bandera, Texas after the flash flood. This was at an RV Park located less than 100 yards away from the river.  Photo by: Always On Liberty

That’s a wrap on our weather emergency tips

I hope all these tips will help you and your family while traveling or camping in your RV. 

Being aware and prepared should always be your number one priority when it comes to severe weather; especially when camping or living in an RV. Always expect the unexpected. 

Remember, your RV motorhome or camper along with all of your belongings can be replaced. However, you and your family cannot. Please be safe!

Severe Weather - Lightening

Other related weather and safety articles to read:

8 Most Popular Weather Apps for RV Travelers

Winter RV Camping: Keep Your RV Interior Warm in Cold Weather

How to Survive Winter Camping in an RV

Best First Aid Kits for RVs or Campers

10 Ways to Avoid Roadside Emergencies and Accidents

Must Have RV Roadside Emergency and Safety Gear

 

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7 Replies to “Weather Emergency Preparation Tips for RVers”

    1. Thank you for reading, Linda!

      It’s so important for RVers and Campers to really pay attention to the weather because we ARE more vulnerable because of our RV size, weight and mobility. We hope you share it with your fellow RVers, Campers, Family and Friends; even to those who don’t camp or RV. Weather is serious business and can be unrelenting. Safe travels to you all!

      – Dan & Lisa

  1. Hey guys,
    I enjoy your articles. Thank you for posting. I will include my email, feel free to put me on your mailing list. Thanks

    1. Thank you for following, Jeff! We hope our tips, experiences, how-to’s and stories help! Safe travels! -Dan & Lisa

      1. My friends were just caught in a tornado with their 40ft class A. Their’s actually tilted on its side, but the neighbor’s next door, in a travel trailer, we’re flipped upside down before they knew what hit them. Very scary!! Thank you for this information. I’ll definitely be keeping a bug out bag on hand!

        1. Wow Dawn, how SCARY for everyone! I hope there were no injuries. This is why it’s important to be prepared ‘before’ the storm. Please be safe out there! Mother Nature always wins. -Dan and Lisa

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