With the rainy, cold, and soon to be snowy season upon us, we thought it might be helpful to our faithful readers to give some tips on what to do to prepare for bad weather.
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.
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. Here’s an NOAA battery operated alert radio with an automatic alert mode, iPhone charger, internal flashlight, and more that you can easily store in your RV:
RVing in Lightning
• Lightening kills more people annually than tornadoes or hurricanes
• Taking shelter inside any building or vehicle is much safer than being outside; try not to touch any exposed metal if you are taking shelter in a vehicle.
• Rain does not signify the beginning of a dangerous storm; thunder does. Anytime you hear thunder you’re at risk of a lightning strike. Close your awning, store anything that can blow away, and get indoors as soon as you can.
• Beware of wildfires due to lightning strikes. Know the safest way out if you are in a woods or fire-prone area.
• Lightning strikes can damage the electrical power in your unit, so it’s a good idea to keep an alternative form of communication or alert system on hand.
RVing in Blizzards/Snowstorms
• If you don’t absolutely NEED to go out on the road, sit tight and wait the weather out. Risking your life isn’t worth it for a road trip.
• Make sure your RV is properly Winterized before hitting the road.
• Keep snow tires/chains, extra blankets, extra food and extra fuel on hand
• Check to make sure your windshield wipers are working properly and aren’t streaking, check your brake lights and headlights, make sure you have plenty of gas (which also helps to add additional weight), and also make sure your tire pressure is right to avoid hydroplaning
Secure everything outside that has even the slightest potential to blow away. Strap awnings closed, make sure wheel and propane bottle covers are securely buckled on – See more at: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2013/10/04/how-to-ride-out-a-blizzard-in-a-rv/#sthash.SfPkzHlp.dpuf
• Store and hook up a generator in your RV if possible
• Make sure to carry tire chains with you at all times
• Always keep a pair of thick gloves and a hat with you
• Wearing multiple layers of light clothing will keep you warmer than one heavy layer
Secure everything outside that has even the slightest potential to blow away. Strap awnings closed, make sure wheel and propane bottle covers are securely buckled on – See more at: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2013/10/04/how-to-ride-out-a-blizzard-in-a-rv/#sthash.SfPkzHlp.dpuf• Secure everything outside that has even the slightest potential to blow away
• Know where the local shelters are and be ready to move there during a cold weather power outage. If you are forced to stay in your RV, contact a relative or someone you know to let them know where you are located and what your situation is.
RVing in Floods and Heavy Rainfall
• Do not attempt to cross any water higher than your ankles
• As little as 6” of water flowing quickly can knock an adult down
• Fewer than 2 feet of water can sweep a car away or stall it out, with you stuck inside.
• TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN. It’s not worth trying to drive through.
• You don’t usually have time to move your RV. Get yourself to higher ground and stay safe
• Avoid water as much as you can, for any water could be contaminated, or contain poisonous snakes.
• Try not to use your RV as your base to get above water
RVing in a Tornado
• When you first arrive at your RV campground, ask about the tornado and storm warning systems for your area, even if you are only camping there for a short time.
• Be ready to go when a tornado WATCH is issued, but start preparing well before that.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in any kind of vehicle. Take shelter immediately, instead.
• Though RVs are large and stongly built, they aren’t the best form of protection you can have against a tornado.
• Any winds exceeding 30mph can cause damage to parked RVs, especially if awnings and slideouts are extended.
• Try to park your camper facing the wind, preferably with the heaviest end, or back end, so debris doesn’t fly through your front window, or lift your RV from the front.
RVing in Extreme Heat
An inclement weather situation is one of the most difficult to deal with. Though these useful tips aren’t relevant for most RVers at the moment, save them for when those hot summer months roll around!
• Stay up to date on NOAA Weather Reports look out for high temperatures.
• If you are doing any work or activities outside, do so slowly, and during the coolest parts of the day.
• If your RV is too hot, move outside to a shady spot to cool down.
• Try to park your camper in the shade and in an open area for wind flow if possible.
• If your camper’s air conditioner works, stay inside as much as possible.
• Wear light weight, loose, light colored clothing.
• Avoid eating heavy amounts of protein, which increases metabolism, produces heat, and increases fluid loss.
• Refrain from alcohol and caffeine.
• Drink plenty of fluids and extra water
• Limit your exposure to the sun
• Plan ahead where you will go if the temperature, or HI, rise higher than you can tolerate.
• Consider your pets’ needs. They need extra water, shade, and care, too.
• Don’t ever leave anyone, or your pets, in vehicles or enclosed spaces without air conditioning.
• Be on the lookout for other RVers who may be suffering, have lost air conditioning, or need help in any way.
• Make sure your RV is fully fueled in case you need to run front air conditioners, or quickly move to a different location.
• Keep plenty of fresh water on hand – at least three gallons per person (or one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days.)
RVing in a Hurricane
• Avoid basing how strong a hurricane is on its apparent intensity. Hurricane intensity occurs in spurts. After an area encounters the “eye” of the storm, there is often a much more intense storm to follow.
• Seek shelter in a solid structure if you can, preferably made of concrete.
• Get as far from the coast and bodies of water as you can.
• Avoid parking your RV in deep sand, which can easily turn to quicksand in a hurricane with all of that excess water.
• Avoid hillsides as well, which can become landslides
• Orient your RV to face the wind’s strongest direction
• Blown out or broken windows are one of the biggest hazards in surviving a hurricane. Stay away from your RV’s windows and draw the drapes.
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.
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, and what has or hasn’t worked for you in the past! Enjoy your trip, and safe RV travel, no matter what type of weather you encounter.