Am I Safe from Storms in an RV?
Mother nature can be a beast and when you’re in an RV, there are some advantages and disadvantages when you’re dealing with storm safety.
Potential Storm Safety Threats
We’ve had a pretty intense lightning scare in the past which caused me to do extensive research on this subject. Luckily, most RVs will keep you safe from a lightning strike.
Here’s an article I wrote about lightning strikes in an RV that breaks it down in more detail.
- Don’t park near tall trees.
- Avoid popular lightning areas like Tampa, FL, which is commonly called the lightning capital of the world.
- During a lightning storm, it’s wise to unplug important electronics in case of a power surge like laptops. It’s even more wise to unplug the RV from shore power before the storm hits and either run the generator or just go dark for awhile.
- Most RVers who are struck are not struck in the RV. Typically they are slow to take cover from a storm and wait too long to stop their fun activity (golfing, biking, hiking, etc).
This is always unfortunate as it often causes a lot of damage. RVers are always searching for campsites right on the water; unfortunately, it comes with a high risk of water damage if the water rises significantly. We have visited Waveland, MS in our RV and saw firsthand the damage flooding can cause. That was ground zero for Hurricane Katrina.
- Avoid flood zones, especially in times of the year with high risk (usually spring/summer).
- Flash floods can come with little to no warning from storms miles away. It’s NEVER smart to park your RV in a flash flood zone. These come fast and hard.
- If there is going to be a massive storm with a lot of rainfall, especially hurricane winds where a storm surge can occur, you may want to move your rig until the threat is over.
If you’ve never driven in extremely high winds, it’s tough to relate to this unrelenting power of nature. Our 5th wheel is just under 20,000 pounds and strong winds shake it like a salt shaker. The heavier your rig, the better. Rigs with a large profile (a lot of surface area) are at high risk from tipping over in high winds.
If you’re parked and the winds are coming, there’s a danger of the winds picking things up and throwing them into your RV.
- Park and wait out the wind if it gets too strong. When the gusts hit 50 mph, we always park and wait out the windstorm.
- Button down anything that might fly into your rig when you’re parked at the campground.
- Make sure your awnings are in!
This is a tough one. They often come with little or no warning. I’ve seen them form; I’ve watched them tear apart barns and toss around vehicles. Many times with a tornado, you are caught off-guard, and all you can do is find a place to holdout. An RV is NOT a good spot when a tornado rips through.
- Know what to look for to spot the formation of a tornado.
- If you’re in a tornado warning area, be alert and on the watch. With cell phone technology, you can track storms on radar in real time.
- Have a plan if you hear/see one coming at you; just ditch the RV and head to safety.
- Avoid camping in tornado alley during tornado season.
If you’ve been in a hurricane, you know the buildup can be unsettling. The unrelenting winds hit speeds that would pick up even the largest of RVs and toss them like paper. Luckily, RVs are mobile, and hurricanes can be predicted with a fair amount of warning.
- Stay out of hurricane-prone areas in hurricane season.
- Pay attention to upcoming storms.
- Flee when danger gets near.
Fire is a beautiful thing when it’s in a controlled campfire. When it’s an out of control blaze ripping through the forest, it’s one of the scariest things on the planet.
- If there is a forest fire nearby, evacuate. The risk of it turning towards you is not worth your life.
- Park your RV in a wide open area where there is sufficient space from trees or long grass so the fire would have to jump further to get to you.