One of my main concerns about becoming a fulltime RV family, and when I say ‘concerns,’ I really mean fears, has always been severe weather. There are only a few things that a resourceful, flexible and tenacious RVer has no control over and severe weather is one of them. Every time we are caught in a massive thunderstorm or threatened with the prospect of a tornado or gale force winds, I find myself at the mercy of Mother Nature and her unrelenting yet awesome ways. While there is no one sure-fire method to protect yourself from or completely avoid aggressive weather conditions, there are several precautions and proactive ways to stay comfortable and collected.
1. Avoid Severe Weather Hotspots
Don’t be in tornado alley during tornado season, simple as that. As an RVer, you have wheels, and options, so in certain situations if may be necessary to take off. In certain circumstances, it may be not be an option to completely avoid severe weather hotspots, but with a little proactive research and planning, alternative routes and time-of-year consciousness can make all the difference.
2. Choose Campsites Wisely
Do your best to avoid campsites filled with large trees, especially if the trees look to be in ill health. For a tent camper, a large tree limb could mean more than a trip to the nearest RV service station. Waterfront sites can also be hazardous. While they are often a first choice among campers, what happens if the water level unexpectedly rises? Be sure to check the slope of the campground before making camp, and try to avoid being in a low spot if you expect rain.
3. Play What If?
Ask yourself as many questions as you can: What if a bad storm comes through? Are the campground restroom/showers usable as a storm shelter? Can you hitch up and leave to avoid the storm if necessary? These, and more, are all good questions to ask yourself before making camp.
4. Play Frogger
Remember the old Frogger video game? When severe weather threatens, you are the frog and the weather forecast is the road. Drive out of bad weather where you are, hold up, and wait to keep driving if there’s less than ideal weather conditions where you’re headed.
5. Get Alerts
Try to carry a smartphone with a weather app or weather radio that can give you real time notifications and alerts. Many storms I’ve weathered come in faster than you might expect so it can be very important to have up-to-date information about the weather in your area. I have an NOAA Radio app set to provide my family and I with alerts set to our specific location, and more times than not, hearing the buzz of my phone is our first warning for severe weather. This gives us a head start and time to think about our options.
6. Don’t Be Paralyzed By Fear
Try not to let the fear of bad weather, and its aftermath, hold you back from chasing your suburbia-ditching dreams. Don’t let photos of storm damage or social media posts crush your enthusiasm for your trip. Often times, storms pass through just as quickly as they came in, leaving only minimal damage.
7. Have Faith and Let Go
I still struggle to embody this notion during every weather related trying circumstance we are faced with, however, I’ve found peace many times during hellacious weather conditions by staying positive and by being reminded that I am not in control of these situations. Mother Nature is certainly a force to be reckoned with and it will give you peace of mind if you are able to let go of your worries over those things in which you cannot control.
*Blog post originally published on Ditching Suburbia's blogsite