RV travel 101 captures picture of lightening over the Gulf at night to discuss severe weather camping

We all hope for sunny skies and warm temperatures when we go camping but sometimes that just doesn’t happen and we must deal with severe weather. Listening to the rain hit the roof of your camper can be very relaxing but what do you do when the light rain turns into severe weather? Here are some tips to keep you safe in severe weather.

RV Travel 101 photo of lightening over Gulf from pier discussing how to stay safe in severe weather

Be Prepared for Severe Weather

The best way to stay safe is to be prepared. To eliminate the surprise of bad weather check the forecast for the area you are going before you leave. Make a plan in advance for what you will do if the weather gets bad. A weather radio is a must if the forecast predicts any storms. If you don’t have cell service on your phone in the campground you are going to be camping then the radio will alert you of thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes. Choose a weather radio with several charging options in case you don’t have power. 

Extreme Temperature Changes While Camping

If you are camping in an rv or camper you expect to be comfortable in your air conditioning or heat right? There is no need to prepare for a change in temperature? So, you go to sleep and the temperature drops suddenly. You turn on the heat and nothing happens at 2am and you only brought shorts and t-shirts. That is going to be a long night.

When the weather is warm pack light clothes, sheets and blankets just in case.

If it is forecasted to be cold bring lots of layers, warm socks and extra sleeping bags to help you stay warm if the heater stops working.

How to Stay Safe in a Lightning Storm

If you see lightning be prepared to take cover. Use the 30 second rule. When you see a flash of lightning and then hear thunder within 30 seconds seek shelter immediately.  Wait 30 minutes before going back out. If you are stuck without shelter do not be the tallest object around or even next to it. Standing beside a tall tree is not a good idea since lightning is attracted to higher objects.

lightening in the dark coming from clouds over the Gulf

Flash floods While Camping

Flash floods happen anywhere and can come on quickly so be prepared even before you set up. If there is a chance of rain when you set up do not park near water, canyons or low spots. Have an exit plan. If the weather gets bad decide in advance when you will leave and what the easiest and fastest way out will be. Water can rise fast. If you get stuck in the middle of a flash flood don’t try to drive out. Go to the highest ground and wait until it is safe to come back.

Tornadoes

tornado forming in dark sky reaching for ground

When you check into the campground ask if there is a tornado shelter. If not, the safest place to be will be a shower, bathroom stall or laundry room. If a tornado watch is issued get ready and know exactly where you will go. Secure anything outside, roll up your awning and take down any shade tents or gazebos. If a warning is issued, go immediately to shelter grabbing only the essentials such as wallets, documents and keys.

Signs of a possible tornado:

  • Electrical charge in the air- the hair on your arms stand up
  • Large hail
  • Severe lightning
  • Roaring noise
  • Grayish/greenish clouds
  • Clouds appear to be dropping to the ground, increasing funnel shaped
  • Rotating dust or debris coming up from the ground

Unexpected Snow and Cold Weather While Traveling in RV

There may come a time in your travels that an unexpected cold snap and/or snow happens. While most of us try to avoid it,  here are a few things to bring  just in case.

Be prepared:

Check the forecast before you leave and if the temperatures are getting cool, be sure to bring a few extra things to help you stay comfortable.

A generator: even if you use propane for heat, it will be a good idea to have a generator and gas. We use the

The chance of dangerous weather while you are camping is pretty low but being prepared can make you feel much better if the unexpected happens.

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