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Old 06-01-2009, 02:56 AM   #1
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Extreme Cross-Winds Story

A while ago, we were listening to someone in Arizona describe crosswinds that were so strong, they blew their RV off the road. Adjusting the story for the usual degree of embellishment, we headed East in our 34 foot Winnebago Brave.

We were traveling around 60 MPH along a fairly deserted stretch of highway when we suddenly heard a really loud bang, like a small explosion. The motorhome then flew across the center line and headed for the ditch. Luckily, with some luck and a good steering stabilizer, I was able to keep the rig on the road but it was a real eye opener. The sensation was literally like getting broad-sided from the side by an invisible vehicle.

Hence, I learned two lessons.

1: hang on to the steering wheel with two hands when you're traveling in an area that has strong crosswinds and;

2: When someone tells you a story that seems hard to believe, consider the possibility that they may be telling the truth.

Has anyone else experienced crosswinds like this and where were you when it happened?

Jack
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:53 AM   #2
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I have, certainly - on I-25, in Wyoming, driving a truck camper (my home turf). It certainly wakes you up...I likened it to running through a small invisible tornado, as the rig slammed left, then right, and then was clear of it.
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:47 AM   #3
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The trick is to watch ahead, blowing dust, trash and bushes
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:49 AM   #4
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Three years ago we were on our way to Montana in a 24 foot class C motorhome when we passed a sign on the highway that said "Beware of Cyclonic Winds". I believe we were near Livingston, MT. Anyway, about 15 minutes later we were hit with what we found out later were 70 mph winds, with gusts much higher. The winds were almost head on and tore a 2' x 2' piece of fiberglass off the cab-over. We found out later that it was not uncommon for tractor-trailers to be overturned in that area.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
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Last year on a trip our West, we left Mitchell, SD heading for Rapid City. We encountered stong winds from the passenger side that pushed my LR slide out 3 - 4 " at times (my rig does not have real slide locks). At times, the wind would push me 2 - 3 feet into the left lane. We stopped at Murdo and felt like the wind was subsiding so continued on to Rapid City. In fact, it got worse after we left Murdo. Stubbornly, I made it to Rapid City that evening but was whipped from fighting the coach along the way.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:16 AM   #6
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There called dust devils; pretty common on the desert; you can spot them by the dirt and dust they pick up; I always watch for them when traveling out west, If you see one heading in your direction you can avoid them by speeding up or slowing down till they get past; they are usually only about 50 or so feet across.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:00 PM   #7
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Yep, they can happen out west. We've experienced instantaneous lange changes and that wasn't even in a large profile vehicle like a motorhome.

They tend to come through valleys so I look ahead and try to read the terrain. Sometimes you can see grass, foliage, or dust moving but many times you can't. If I come up on a small valley or guley between a pair of long, twisty ridges I generally keep a close eye on nearby traffic and plan to expect a surprise.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:05 PM   #8
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The area we were traveling through had very little in the way of vegetation so it was hard to see any warning signs. In theory, if the winds are coming from the side, it would pay to go faster to counteract the lateral forces. On the other hand, if they're head winds, the opposite would be true. Hitting a 70 MPH headwind going 70 MPH would be an invitation to disaster. In any case, I'll look for the signs. I may even put one of those plastic statues on the dash for good luck.

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Old 06-01-2009, 11:21 PM   #9
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Between Livingston and Big Timber, Montana it's not uncommon to encounter winds 70 to 100 MPH. They almost always blow north to south and the hiway runs east and west so you know what that means. They used to have orange wind socks on metal poles along that route but the wind blew the wind socks away so much I understand they stopped using them.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:10 AM   #10
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Between Livingston and Big Timber, Montana it's not uncommon to encounter winds 70 to 100 MPH. They almost always blow north to south and the hiway runs east and west so you know what that means. They used to have orange wind socks on metal poles along that route but the wind blew the wind socks away so much I understand they stopped using them.
There are places out west that still have wind socks; when I approach those places I grab the wheel real tight and wait for the blast; early morning or late evening is the best time to go throught these places; usually the wind is down during these times.
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:06 AM   #11
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Heading east out of Bakersfield toward the Tehachapi Mountains at the end of March, I was hit by the strongest crosswind gusts I have ever felt. It wasn't just one, or a dust devil, they just kept coming. It nearly tore the wheel out of my hands, not to mention scaring the p-wadding out of me. I hung on, looking for a place to stop or turn around and go back; nothing, of course. I've been across the Nevada desert a couple times, where the sidewinds blow at you constantly, but they were nothing by comparison.

I kept going, and in two or three miles it calmed down enough that I decided if it didn't get worse again, I could live with it. It has convinced me, though, that if I am going to make that trip any more (our son lives in Phoenix) I am going to add an additional anti-sway bar to the coach. A 36' gas coach has a pretty long overhand, and it's like a sail sticking out there.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:03 PM   #12
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Places I know of w/potential "cyclonic" winds that come w/little or no warning: High Sierras in NV & CA (read Twain's missives on the Wahoe zephyrs for some entertaining spins on the subject), and the Southwest desert to include middle & lower Baja. Usual contributors in my experience: some level of wind to start with, doesn't need to be a lot; mountainous topography in the neighborhood to help concentrate erratic winds into cyclonic condition OR thunderhead cloud buildup (the higher, the more dangerous).

Ken's caveat about gas coaches needing some rear stabilization is spot on. We had a P30 rig that wagged its way down the road on a good day, and when the wind blew... ºɷº
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackm View Post
A while ago, we were listening to someone in Arizona describe crosswinds that were so strong, they blew their RV off the road. Adjusting the story for the usual degree of embellishment, we headed East in our 34 foot Winnebago Brave.

We were traveling around 60 MPH along a fairly deserted stretch of highway when we suddenly heard a really loud bang, like a small explosion. The motorhome then flew across the center line and headed for the ditch. Luckily, with some luck and a good steering stabilizer, I was able to keep the rig on the road but it was a real eye opener. The sensation was literally like getting broad-sided from the side by an invisible vehicle.

Hence, I learned two lessons.

1: hang on to the steering wheel with two hands when you're traveling in an area that has strong crosswinds and;

2: When someone tells you a story that seems hard to believe, consider the possibility that they may be telling the truth.

Has anyone else experienced crosswinds like this and where were you when it happened?
Jack
I am a long distance truck driver . In May 2008 I was in Kansas heading for my reload when I got hit by >> straight line winds << I had slowed down from 55mph to 20mph after I was lifted up on the drivers side once. Then the wind pushed me towards the ditch,then started pushing me over onto my side, once I was lifted a little on the one side the wind got underneath & started pushing on the bottom then over I go & sliding. I slid from about where the sign is to where you see it. Click on picture to make it larger.



Quote:
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The trick is to watch ahead, blowing dust, trash and bushes
That is a good idea, but there is not always something to see.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:25 AM   #14
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Speechless.

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