Severe Weather Tips for RVers and Campers

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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Severe Weather RV Tips

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.

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 significant weather that could threaten life or property. If 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. You’ll need to have your jackets or rain gear ready and shoes easily accessible. You and your family will need to be ready to evacuate 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. This is when you and your family need to act calmly but quickly. Head to the nearest storm shelter with your bug out bag and jackets.
 
When the weather channel posts ‘Warning’ (ie. Tornado Warning, Storm Warning), local sirens may sound off. News outlets may advise you to seek shelter. This is when you need to relocate your family and your pets to the nearest storm shelter immediately. 

SEEK SHELTER! DO NOT STAY IN YOUR RV!

Severe Weather - Overturned Camper
This photo was taken by us in Bandera, Texas after a surprise flash flood. Thankfully, no one was injured.

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 - Lightening

Severe Weather Preparation Tips

 

LOCATE SHELTER

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.

Popular Weather Apps for Travelers
For more information on popular smartphone weather apps, click HERE.

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.

 

 

Emergency Bug Out Bag
For more information on why you need an emergency bug out bag and what to pack in it, click HERE.

 

Always_On_Liberty_First Aid Kits
For more information on First Aid Kits for RVs or Campers, click HERE.

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:

10 Ways to Avoid Roadside Emergencies and Accidents

Must Have RV Roadside Emergency and Safety Gear

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!

Severe Weather - Camper RV on side
We witnessed this aftermath in Bandera, Texas after a measurable storm and river flooded. This was at an RV Park located less than 100 yards away from the river.
 
Wrapping up here, I hope all these tips will help you and your family in the future. 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!

Other Weather Related Articles

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 RV Trip Planning Apps and Websites

10 Ways to Avoid Roadside Emergencies and Accidents

 
 

 
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5 Replies to “Severe Weather Tips for RVers and Campers”

    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

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