RVing can bring plenty of joys to outdoor enthusiasts, but when severe weather threatens your wonderful stay, quick action and smart thinking are necessary to ensure your safety! This complete guide for RVing in bad weather will help you to prepare for bad weather and help lead you to safety, no matter what Mother Nature has in store!
General Things To Consider
- Use common sense. Make smart decisions, stay calm, and think logically on how to stay safe during weather situations.
- Always stay in tune with local news stations for weather forecasts and alerts.
- Consider purchasing a weather radio to keep up to date on current weather conditions. These are great because they can run on batteries and will work even if you lose power.
- At the first sign of adverse weather, secure your awning and any other objects that are at risk of blowing away.
- Have a plan for your pets as well. Keep a leash handy, and make sure they are wearing a collar with an ID in case you are separated from each other.
- Keep important documents like passports, insurance information, medications, and other important items, as well as extra phone chargers, in a bag that can easily be grabbed in case you have to evacuate quickly.
Lightning and Thunderstorms
Although it's not too common to encounter a storm while on the road, you should not underestimate the damage that can occur! Be sure to check weather forecasts of the area before planning activities, especially hiking or similar activities. Just be sure to move quickly at the first sign of a storm, as they can blow in suddenly! Here are some tips and things to consider when you’re facing a storm:
- It is of utmost importance to seek immediate shelter at the first sign or warning of a thunder or lightning storm.
- Don’t assume that you have time to wait to get to shelter. Find cover right away to avoid exposing yourself to a dangerous situation.
- Rain is not the indicator of an oncoming severe thunderstorm, thunder is. If there is thunder, there is lightning, so head to shelter immediately.
- Lightning strikes can inflict a lot of damage. Make sure phones are charged and have an additional form of communication in case of power loss or property destruction.
- Wildfires can also spark from lightning strikes, so be sure to know a safe route out if you’re camping in a wooded area or a spot that is susceptible to fire.
Blizzards and Snowstorms
If you’re braving the cold weather with your RV, you’ll want to make sure that you’re fully equipped to handle whatever mother nature decides to throw your way! The key to successfully riding out a winter storm is preparation ahead of the fact, so here are some great tips that will get you through winter mayhem:
- Ensure that your RV is properly prepared for winter travel. Make sure holding tanks won’t freeze, that your tires have proper tread and inflation, windshield wipers are in good condition, and always make sure you have plenty of gas.
- Create a survival kit ahead of time in case you become stranded. Include blankets, a hat, gloves, food, extra fuel, chains for tires, and any other essentials.
- Make sure your generator is in working order, and be sure to locate a local shelter in case of a power outage.
- If you know a storm is coming, do not go out unless it is an absolute emergency! You will be putting your life at risk by putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
- If you become stuck in the snow, stay with your vehicle! A vehicle and RV are easier to spot along the road than a lone person.
Perhaps one of the most extreme and most frightening weather events are tornadoes, which mean very bad news for RVers! They can develop suddenly, and can cause extreme damage to your RV! Your safety is most important when it comes to a tornado, so follow these helpful tips to stay safe:
- Be aware of the warning systems offered in the area in which you are staying. Watch the local TV station for weather updates, listen to a weather radio, and keep an eye on weather apps on your phone.
- Ask campground staff if there is a designated tornado shelter, and make a plan for your family to ensure everyone knows where they can get to safety.
- Be alert. Even when a tornado watch has been issued, be ready to head to a shelter. Don’t wait to seek shelter at risk of getting caught in the middle of a deadly situation.
- Straight-line winds can occur even if there isn’t a tornado present, and can cause a lot of damage to RVs.
RVing In Extreme Heat
Summer months and hotter climates can be the perfect recipe for extreme heat, which can oftentimes be difficult to deal with. It’s important to plan for these heat waves to ensure that you don’t plan excessive outdoor activities and so you can be properly equipped to beat the heat!
- Make sure that your RV and tow vehicle are properly fueled in case you need to move somewhere where the heat isn’t as extreme.
- Keep a large stock of fresh water on hand, about one gallon per person per day.
- Stay well hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and avoid eating excessive protein, which causes the body to heat up through increased metabolism.
- Avoid going out in extreme heat as much as possible, and refrain from excessive sun exposure. Try to plan any outdoor activities for the coolest part of the day.
- Run air conditioning whenever possible, and never leave pets or humans inside an RV or vehicle without air conditioning.
If you plan to stay in hurricane-prone areas during hurricane season, it’s extremely important to keep up to date with forecasts and developing hurricane conditions. Because RVs are considerably less sturdy than stick and brick houses, you’ll want to stay proactive to ensure your safety!
- Never underestimate the intensity of a hurricane. Storms can strengthen in spurts, making them more dangerous than initially predicted.
- Seek shelter in a sturdy, solid structure. Don’t wait until conditions have worsened or you could become stranded.
- Get as far away from the coast and bodies of water as you possibly can.
- If you must stay in your RV, stay away from windows and draw the drapes to avoid dangerous broken glass.
- Avoid parking your RV on hillsides or on sand, which can turn into landslides and quicksand.
Flooding and Heavy Rainfall
Heavy rainfall can bring about flash or gradual flooding, which is bad news for you and your RV. Be smart about the moves you make when the water level starts to rise around you, and make sure to get to safety before it’s too late!
- If you’re not in an already flooded area, do not attempt to drive through the water. Cars can get swept away in less than two feet of water!
- If you’re on foot, don’t attempt to cross any water that is higher than your ankles. Even six inches of quickly flowing water is enough to knock an adult over!
- In most cases, you won’t have time to move your RV. If this is the case, get yourself to higher ground. Do not get on top of your RV to get you up out of the water!
There are a wide range of resources available that will help you to track weather patterns, and give you real-time weather alerts to help keep you safe when extreme weather strikes! There are a wide variety of apps available on your phone or tablet that will show you the predicted forecast, and can send alerts for severe weather warnings so you can get to safety! These aren’t entirely foolproof, so you may want to invest in a weather radio, which broadcasts information from official weather associations, and can run off batteries in case of power loss. In any case, you can also follow different official weather profiles on social media, which oftentimes post live updates of strong weather!
Some preparation ahead of time and having a sound plan for what to do when bad weather strikes while RVing will help to keep you calm and safe in the event that a situation arises! Just remember to think logically, and always check local weather forecasts before and during your trip to help stay safe! What other tips do you have for camping in bad weather? Comment to share your ideas, and travel safely!