RV Guide to Camping During a Tornado

RV Guide to Camping During a Tornado

For the avid RV camper, road trips offer the perfect blend of freedom, adventure, and the comforts of home. But like all outdoor pursuits, it's essential to remain informed and prepared, mainly when nature displays its might. A tornado is one of the most intimidating weather phenomena you might encounter on the road. This article will equip you with knowledge and safety guidelines to tackle this threat.

  1. Understand Tornadoes A tornado is a rotating air column extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. They can cause massive destruction, with winds that can reach over 200 mph.

  2. Know the Risk Certain regions, particularly the Midwest and South in the United States, are more prone to tornadoes, especially during the spring and early summer. Before your trip, research the tornado risk for your planned route and destinations.

  3. Stay Informed Equip your RV with a NOAA Weather Radio, which provides alerts for severe weather in real time. Modern apps and websites, such as the Storm Prediction Center or Tornado App by the American Red Cross, can also be invaluable.

  4. Recognize Warning Signs While technology is a boon, nature provides cues. Some warning signs include:
  • A dark or greenish sky
  • Large, low-lying clouds, especially if they're rotating
  • Hail
  • A roar similar to a freight train

  1. Safety First: What to Do When a Tornado is Near
  • Avoid Outrunning It: Tornadoes can change direction without warning. Don't attempt to outdrive or outrun a tornado.
  • Find Shelter: If you're at a campground with a designated storm shelter, head there immediately. Find a sturdy building if there isn't one and you have time.
  • Ditch the RV: Your vehicle, no matter how sturdy it seems, is not a safe place during a tornado.
  • Go Low: If you're caught outside with no shelter nearby, find a low spot, such as a ditch, lie down, and protect your head. Stay away from trees and cars.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on weather conditions after the immediate threat has passed. There could be more tornadoes or other severe weather threats.

  1. After the Storm
  • Check for Injuries: Ensure everyone with you is okay and provide first aid as needed.
  • Inspect Your RV: Before heading back on the road, inspect your RV for damage. Look for broken windows, punctured tires, or structural damage.
  • Be Cautious of Gas Leaks: Turn off your RV's gas supply and check for leaks. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, keep away and call for help.
  • Document Damage: For insurance purposes, take pictures of any damage.

  1. Plan Ahead
  • Secure Loose Items: If you are warned of an impending tornado, secure or store any loose items outside your RV, like chairs or grills.
  • Discuss a Plan: Ensure everyone traveling with you knows the plan in case of a tornado. Discuss where to go, how to communicate, and what to do if separated.

RV camping brings the joys of exploration and the thrill of the open road. But nature is unpredictable. By staying informed, being prepared, and knowing how to react, you can ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe during your adventures, even in the face of a tornado. Always prioritize safety over sticking to an itinerary. Safe travels!