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Texasrvers
We are heading out on a long trip toward the east coast, and all the bad weather has made me very nervous. So I was wondering if any of you have ever been caught in a bad storm (rain, high winds, hail, and tornados) and what you did to protect yourself. I always feel very vulnerable in the motor home, but Iím not sure some bath houses or other buildings at campgrounds offer any better protection. Also we would not want to leave our two cats behind. How have some of you other animal lovers handled this situation?

On our last trip we were in Louisiana when a bad storm came right over us. There were tornados on the ground about 30 mi. from us and moving our way. We werenít sure what to do. It was pouring rain and there was some hail. The winds were so high we brought in the slides thinking that might keep the coach from shaking so much. I was really scared, but we got through it without a scratch. I know I canít control the weather, but Iíd feel better if at least I had some idea about a safe course of action.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions and stories.
John Blue
Tex,

We have run in to everything on your list. One night in NM the wind was so bad we were thinking the motorhome was a cement mixer. In Yellowstone, sun was out nice day and on way out of park we were in a snow storm. In TX storm hit around 3:00 am with hard rain and high winds, tree damage all over the place due to this. Tornado was in AL one night around 6:00 pm, people were running all over the place to get out of the way. Tornado stopped before it hit KOA park. The tornados will mess up your day.

How do you stop it? I do not think that will happen. The newer NOAA weather radios have a system named "S A M E". You put in a code for county you are in and radio will sound off if NOAA people see trouble close to you. Radios cost around $70. You can set in type of alarm you wish to hear.

Hope this will help.
Texasrvers
Hi John,

Sounds like you've experienced it all. What did you do when you knew the tornado was coming? Did you stay in your motor home or try to find a safer place? We always keep an eye on the weather forecast, but sometimes storms pop up unexpectedly (as you mentioned). When we were in the storm in Louisiana the local TV channels were telling people right where we were to take cover, but we really didn't have any place to go. There were some bath houses in the park, but as I said we weren't sure they would offer any better protection. You know how they say it sounds like a train when a tornado is coming. Well, that night I heard a horrific sound just like a train that scared me to death. Then my husband reminded me we were fairly close to a train track and it probably really was a train. That's funny now, but not then. I just wish I had a better idea of the things that we could (should) do when a really bad storm hits.

The NOAA weather radio is a good suggestion. I'll look into it. Thanks for your help.
John Blue
Tex,

On the tornado, skies went black in sec's, alarms went off near by, we turned on NOAA radio and that told me it was running on west side of a mountain (1/2 mile away), we did not know what to do. We went outside to see if we could see it, no. Then NOAA said it has broken up. We ate dinner and life goes on. Some days you win and some you do not. The better place to go would be the shower house, motorhome would have been in next County over.
Big Ben
Some parks in areas where they have alot of tornados have shelters. I've been in 2. one we lost our house boat and ended up in the water. Also had a close call when driving a semi.wind caught me and went down in a ditch and flopped over.If you are out on the road probably the safest place is under a bridge or a big culvert. If I get in heavy cross winds I park it. I'm not in that big of hurry. We travel extensively out west and Wyo. and the Dakotas can be very windy. Once sat at Wall Drug for 3 days wait for it to calm down.
Jerry S
Hi Texasrvers,

I hesitated to be one of the first to reply to your post when I first read it yesterday. The way I understood your query was that one of your major concerns was what to do with the cats. Some of my thoughts might not help if the "shelter" does not allow animals.

With adequate advanced warning, I have left campgrounds and spent the night in motels three times during my travels: Tornados in northern AZ and eastern WY and flood warnings in northern WI. About 5 years ago they closed Coushatta for Hurricane Lilly and we went to Paragon and stayed in a chalet. Lilly shifted and and came right through Marksville with 75 mph. winds. Not perfect, but certainly safer than an RV - at least the chalet did not shake and sway the way an RV would in high winds.

With today's modern communications (weater channel, radio, computer), we certainly have better warnings about serious weather. As has been mentioned, many parks have "shelters" that should be safer than staying in the RV. Some give you this information when you check in. If not, ask when you reserve or check in. At least you will know where to go if you decide to leave the RV. The tough part is deciding when leaving the RV is unavoidable. You don't want to be running to the "shelter" every time it gets a little rough. If a park has no "shelter", your only "safer" option is to stay elsewhere if bad weather is expected.

None of this does much good if a surprise storm hit in the middle of the night. The question then is whether you are safer in the RV or going outside to seek shelter. We've all heard about strong winds creating killer projectiles out anything it can pick up.

It all boils down to one simple fact: At times, humanity still has to cower in the face of nature's power.

Don't let this new found fear of storms ruin your travels.

Jerry S.
Texasrvers
I've enjoyed your replies and appreciate your advice. We are on the road in east Texas and wifi is not strong here. Keeps knocking me off. I'll respond more when (if) I get a good connection somewhere else.
BusyDad
Wow, This thread makes me so glad to be on the east coast. Tornados in our area are rare. At least we get a lot of advanced warnings and time to prepare for the hurricanes. Do not let the weather problems that exist stop you from enjoying life. If you do that something else may kill you and then your family may not be able to say that you died doing what you enjoy. That may not sound so good but live life to the fullest. I hope I have stories of many adventure to tell my Grandchildren.

Busydad
Texasrvers
Finally a place with good strong wifi! (and free)

First John, I'm glad your tornado experience turned out ok. I don't think I would have been so calm.

Next Jerry, this fear of storms actually isnít a new found fear. Iíve been afraid of storms as long as I can remember. When we are home I will usually go to the lowest floor of our house every time a bad storm hits. At least I feel a little safer there. The problem is there is no lower floor to go to in the motor home. Maybe I should get in one of the storage bins. laugh.gif

Your suggestion of going to a motel is very good, but as you said knowing when to do that is the big question. There have been about 2 or 3 times that we should have gone to a shelter, but we never have. The Louisiana storm that I mentioned was one of those times.

Believe it or not we have already been in another storm on this trip. It was last Tues. night. We were in Tunica, MS and a huge line of storms was headed right for us. They were predicting heavy rain, high winds, hail, and tornados, but thankfully the worst weather stayed just north of us. The best news is that when you are in one of those casinos you donít have a clue about what is happening outside. So I didnít even know the storm had hit until it was almost over.

About our cats. Yes, you are right. I have a major concern about them, and I hoped to hear what other people have done with their pets in similar situations. However, because of my paranoia we brought carrying cages with us this time. Then if we do have to leave the motor home and go to a motel or other shelter we can put them in their cages and take them with us. Hopefully none of this will ever be necessary. And even though I think I will always be scared of storms, it will not stop me from traveling. As Busydad said, many things can happen to you anywhere so you shouldnít let weather problems stop you from enjoying life.

I want to thank Busydad for telling me that the east coast doesnít have many tornados since we are headed that way. I also wanted to tell him that we have actually been through a hurricane in the motor home. It was only a category one, but it still counts. We were on the gulf coast when Arlene (the first hurricane of the 2005 Katrina season) came ashore in Alabama, and we decided to ride it out. It really wasnít bad at all. The Louisiana storm was much worse. Course Iíd never attempt to ride out any hurricane that was bigger.

Thanks again for all your responses, and I'm hoping the rest of our trip will be sunny and warm.
Jerry S
Hi again,

Sorry about the assumption. Having chatted with you in another thread, I know where you are from and that you are an experienced RVer. So I incorrectly assumed that this spring's extra stormy start created a new concern.

I know what you mean abou how you can be oblivious to the weather when you are in a big casino like Grand, Paragon, or Coushatta.

Again, have a good trip.

Jerry S.
Texasrvers
Well, forget the sunny and warm. We are now in the northeast tip of Tennessee and the forcast is for snow flurries and a low of 22 degrees. I want my warm Texas weather!
John Blue
TX,

So much for warm and dry weather in TX. We are in Kerrville now, rain and 37 degs. Killed our day to tour around here. Tomorrow is looked about the same but life is good on the road. We have everything we need here so no problems. tongue.gif
Texasrvers
John,

Rain and 37 degrees. That's not a very friendly Texas welcome for you. But you know what they say about weather in Texas. Just wait about 24 hrs. and it will be completely different. Hope it improves while you're there.

We had to change our plans for today, too. Northeast Tennessee got snow last night. We just got a dusting, but places close to here got as much as 2". But as you said we are warm in the motor home and have all we need.

Be safe on the rest of your trip.
BBear
Texasrvers,

Hope you're not heading up Pennsylvania way...it's 25 degrees and snowing with about an inch to two inches on the ground. Feels more like Christmas time than Easter, LOL....as a matter of fact, our Christmas this year was 60 degrees and sunny!!!

Here's a weather story for ya...three years ago we were tent camping at Point Lookout State Park in Maryland...where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Potomac River. It was July and very hot, like in the 90's and frequent afternoon storms would pop up...the first day we were there they did, thankfully though after we were already set up. The second day, the storm came with little or no warning...it was sunny and beautiful and then all of a sudden it let loose, wind, rain (coming in all directions), thunder and lightning like I had never heard or seen before. We just sat in the tent which was sitting under 100 to 200 foot lobolly pine trees and rode it out...we had a radio, but the only stations we could get were from D.C. and Baltimore, both more than 2 hours away and didn't give any local weather warnings or anything.

The storm had stopped after about a good hour, we came out of the tent and was taking a walk around and campers who were camped down from us emerged from the restroom and they asked us where we were holed up during the storm and we said our tent and they just looked at us astonished and said you were sitting in a tent when three funnel clouds were within three miles of you...and we said we had no idea that the storm was that bad...that's when they told us we need to invest in a marine or weather radio so we know what is going on near to us...and we did...we purchased one the next year before we started camping for the season.

I also do have one tip for if you're driving and you happen to see a funnel cloud and you pull under an overpass...don't just sit in your vehicle under the overpass and think you're safe...get out of your vehicle and climb as far as you can under the eaves of the above highway and position yourself as close to the highway above on the eave as you can.
Butch
Just a note about staying in a tent during thunder storms with severe lightning. Here in Eastern New York State, we have island tent camping on Lake George. Travel to the small primitive campsites on the uninhabited islands is by boat only. Only a few State made and controlled campsites exist per island. In the past, a few campers have lost their lives by staying in their tents during a severe storm. Lightning strikes the tree next to their campsite, travels down the tree to it's root system located beneath the tent, and it was the end for the occupants. This situation has unfolded, over the years, more than once. The lake is 36 miles long, and is 1 mile wide at it's widest, so the islands are the highest land mass in the middle of the lake, and so the lightning strikes the trees on the islands. As there is not any structures on the islands, your protection is very limited or non-existant during this type storm. But this condition could unfold at any campsite at any location. Take immediate action to protect yourselves, and others from this possibility.
John S.
Well, we have three dogs and have had various experiences. I have lived through all of what you have listed and then some. I will add below zero temps and a blizzard too. I had three tornados go over head when we were on the outer banks last year....IT took the roofs off a number of houses including some kamping kabins at the KOA and it turned a trailer over. I am in a Motorhome and hooked the jeep to the back and unpluged all but electric and that can be done in seconds or if it is ok with your batteries just unplug all utilities. It is like being on the road then. Move away from big trees that can drop limbs. I have had huge storms out in iowa too and there is nowhere to run but you have to wait it out. Tornados are the big problme and all other things can be waited out. I had a blizzard in Indiana a couple years ago and I just sat it out in the flying j with three other motorhomes. Snow will melt or be plowed. I will say that hail and thunderstorms are a problem out west too. I put on the weather channel on the inmotion and look at the counties with alerts in them and will try to stop before them or to get trough them if there is time.

I have sat out the remenants of a few hurricanes at home too. We used the MH as a source of power etc to live in if we lost power and now in the new house I have a whole house generator so that is not as big an issue.

Pay attention to the weather listen to the NOAA or look at a weather report online for where you are. look for solid shelter in the midwest and south especaially. I will usually stay in th emotorhome or leave the area if I have too or stop before I get to it when travelling but at the times I am parked in the CG I just figure out the best place to stay if it gets really hairy.
BBear
QUOTE(Butch @ Apr 9 2007, 10:38 AM) *

Just a note about staying in a tent during thunder storms with severe lightning. Here in Eastern New York State, we have island tent camping on Lake George. Travel to the small primitive campsites on the uninhabited islands is by boat only. Only a few State made and controlled campsites exist per island. In the past, a few campers have lost their lives by staying in their tents during a severe storm. Lightning strikes the tree next to their campsite, travels down the tree to it's root system located beneath the tent, and it was the end for the occupants. This situation has unfolded, over the years, more than once. The lake is 36 miles long, and is 1 mile wide at it's widest, so the islands are the highest land mass in the middle of the lake, and so the lightning strikes the trees on the islands. As there is not any structures on the islands, your protection is very limited or non-existant during this type storm. But this condition could unfold at any campsite at any location. Take immediate action to protect yourselves, and others from this possibility.


Great advice, Butch, with regard to being in a tent during lightning...I did think about the trees around us getting struck and what would happen to us, but stupid me we still sat in the tent...I can't even remember why we just didn't go sit in the car...well, in a way, I guess I know, to be honest I love sitting in storms in a tent and I just overlook the inherent danger that there is, but that storm was like no other and it really scared the (ahem) out of me and we haven't sat in a tent in a storm since...even when it just rains we'll sit in the car or go to the restroom or recreation building if there is one.
Texasrvers
Iíve enjoyed reading your storm stories. Iím sure there are a lot of them out there. Your advice and tips have been appreciated.

We are in another bad weather situation. We are stuck in that horrible wind that is moving over Virginia and up the east coast. They say there have been gusts over 60 mph, and one report said it is similar to a category 2 hurricane. They are supposed to be straight line winds as opposed to tordadic winds, but when this motor home is rocking and rolling it doesnít seem to make much difference what kind it is. We brought in the slides last night, and when we got up this morning we could see that many others in the park did the same thing. We were supposed to travel today but have delayed our departure for at least a day. However, they say these winds will be around through Tuesday so we may not get out of here until Wednesday. Then it is supposed to return to spring-like weather. So for now weíll just stay ďhunkered downĒ a while longer.
Texasrvers
I just wanted to tell BusyDad that there may not be many tornadoes on the east coast, but that certainly doesn't mean they don't have wind! We have just been through 48 hours of the worst continuous wind we have ever seen--and that includes Hurricane Arlene that I mentioned above. I am always nervous in a storm, but even my husband expressed concern this time. Again we got through it without any damage, but I can certainly relate to the cement mixer that John Blue talked about. The forecast is much better for tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be on our way again. Life and travel goes on.
John Blue
Tex,

The Texas weather hit again. On way from Pecos up to Carlsbad, NM last week (same winds you were in) winds were up to 50 MPH. Winds would not stop or slow down so we had to drop down to 45 MPH or less at times to stay on the road and we weight 30,000 lbs. This went on for 98 miles. Trucks (18 wheels) on road were running about the same speed and you could see rear wheels off the road a lot as we all moved along. We made it into Carlsbad. What is next? dry.gif
gwbischoff
Great thread.

We pulled into Ruby's Inn at the gate of Bryce Canyon in UT seconds before a "hundred year" storm hit. As I checked in, I could heard the thunder getting louder and louder. It began sprinkling on the way to our site and just as I got the trailer hooked up it announced its presence with authority. Lighting struck a few yards from our site. Wind and hail made it sound like someone was frying bacon on our roof. We're from So. Cal. so rain is a rarity for us so we weren't aware that one of our roof vents leaked. Until then. I had to climb up on top of my Suburban (not the greatest idea with lightning about) to secure a tarp over our vent to prevent the deluge from coming inside.

We had it better than the tenters, tho.
gwbischoff
Speaking of which, we just got back from Arizona and had to deal with the summer "monsoon" season. Has anyone had to deal with lightning strikes and the accompanying problem with shorted out appliances?

I know at home we've had problems with computers/tv's/air conditioning shorting out.
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