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Old 08-18-2020, 01:27 AM   #1
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Avoiding Bad Weather

We've owned our RV for about two years now, with plans to go full-time by next summer. In thinking about adopting that life style, one thing I'm still trying to wrap my head around is how to avoid bad weather when possible. It's really top of mind after seeing the aftermath of severe storms that rolled through several midwest states last week. I would not want to have been caught out in that. So I have two questions for those FTers who have enjoyed meandering about the country for years:

1. beyond going south for the winter and north for the summer, what general weather-related rules of thumb do you follow, e.g. stay out of Florida and the gulf coast states during hurricane season, avoid the plain states in late spring/early summer due to tornados, etc?

2. what do you do when a line of severe storms come through where you are (assuming you have enough warning to do more than seek shelter)? Do you try to move your rig out of the line of fire, even if hours away? Do you look for a building where you can park your rig close enough to the leeward side? Or do you just batten down the hatches and ride it out? Obviously it will depend on how much notice you have, the size of the approaching storm, etc.

I appreciate any guidance that the more seasoned among us can provide.
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Old 08-18-2020, 08:15 AM   #2
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Not much you can do about thunderstorms unless you are glued to the weather radar. We went thru the most violent thunderstorm we've ever seen up in North Dakota a week or so ago around 1 AM. No pause lightning and thunder, flash BANG for 15 or 20 minutes with a very strong wind buffeting the camper. You just have to trust your camper in that case. Having a heavy Arctic Fox gives you some peace of mind then, an cheap ultralight may not.


In the Midwest tornado belt some rv camps have a storm shelter,we actually saw a black funnel cloud a few miles off one time when we were camped in Kansas, of course, fortunately it went the other way but we got some strong winds.

Not as well known perhaps the Midwest does have a tornado season, so avoid the area during that period when cold fronts collide with warm Gulf air. Late spring mainly. And who wants to camp in the area in the summer?


So there isn't a lot that you can do, use weather warning radio and pull over under an overpass until it blows thru maybe.
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Old 08-18-2020, 08:17 AM   #3
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Here is an excellent website for determining weather:


https://www.ventusky.com/?p=25.7;-94.8;4&l=temperature
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Old 08-18-2020, 09:05 AM   #4
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We just go for it, and adjust if we have to.

For six consecutive years, we left in mid-October and spent 90 days seeing the us (47 states in five years). We were in the Dakotas, Vermont, Michigan in those times, and were blessed with great travel weather.

Nine months of travel in late Fall - We had our water hose freeze one night. We had a day in Michigan that was too windy to travel well. We drove through light snow in Arizona. One day too rainy to travel comfortably. Aaaand, we were snowed-in for a night in El Paso!

We checked the weather most mornings and were willing to head elsewhere if the weather looked threatening, but I don't think we ever did. Our one big worry was getting stuck in the northern states by snow that would keep us there until Spring!

Be aware, but don't get too obsessed with it. You can drive out if a tropical storm threatens - usually a week of advanced notice. Tornadoes happen, but not with enough frequency to avoid areas and seasons. Buy a weather alert radio and just get out there and have fun!

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Old 08-18-2020, 12:13 PM   #5
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https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/basicwx/basicwx_ndfd.php
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:21 PM   #6
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You can easily drive away from hurricanes; staying in the south in hot weather is another issue.

You can avoid tornado and dixie alley by staying in the Florida peninsula or coastal Georgia, or west of the area, during March to June. Aside from that, when the fronts sweep across the continent there's no driving away. What hits Texas hits Alabama a couple of days later.

Don't park under or near trees.
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:42 PM   #7
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1. Get a weather radio with auto alert.

2. Don't park under bridges in storms.

3. Don't camp on ridges.
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:51 PM   #8
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I'd stay out of Oklahoma during tornado season.

We've been in a state park near Birmingham, Alabama a couple times during tornado warnings. The ranger came by to alert every camper and asked us to go into the shelter... the bathroom. Campers of all ages, sex and even pets crowded into them along with water bottles, snacks, flashlights, lawnchairs and weather radio and playing cards. It was a festive time! Tornados never hit but you need to be prepared. You can't outrun a tornado so seek shelter... concrete block over wood. They even say to park and lay down in a gully.. not by your car that may be turned over. Our tornado experiences were coming from Michigan down to the Gulf in Sept/Oct. Traveling the midwest/south in late spring/summer is not something we'd do.... too hot.

Hurricane's you have plenty of warning to drive somewhere else.

We also learned not to be too eager to get into the northern/western states. We left Arizona once in April and got in a snowstorm in Utah. . just parked for a couple days although we did have to drive in the snow to get there... not fun. Another time the end of April we left AZ and were on I-40 just west of Albuquerque in a blizzard. Everyone was stopped completely on the interstate until the plows came through..... about 6 hours. If you run into snow in the north in Sept and even Oct just wait a couple days and it will melt... too early to build up and stay.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it constantly.

Get a good weather alert radio. Don't rely on a cell phone. When traveling the iffy states know on a map what county you're in and listen to the radio during warnings to know what direction it's coming from.
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Old 08-18-2020, 07:58 PM   #9
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Interesting Article
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weath...lawed-concept/
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Old 08-19-2020, 08:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jepoland5 View Post
We've owned our RV for about two years now, with plans to go full-time by next summer. In thinking about adopting that life style, one thing I'm still trying to wrap my head around is how to avoid bad weather when possible. It's really top of mind after seeing the aftermath of severe storms that rolled through several midwest states last week. I would not want to have been caught out in that. So I have two questions for those FTers who have enjoyed meandering about the country for years:

1. beyond going south for the winter and north for the summer, what general weather-related rules of thumb do you follow, e.g. stay out of Florida and the gulf coast states during hurricane season, avoid the plain states in late spring/early summer due to tornados, etc?

2. what do you do when a line of severe storms come through where you are (assuming you have enough warning to do more than seek shelter)? Do you try to move your rig out of the line of fire, even if hours away? Do you look for a building where you can park your rig close enough to the leeward side? Or do you just batten down the hatches and ride it out? Obviously it will depend on how much notice you have, the size of the approaching storm, etc.

I appreciate any guidance that the more seasoned among us can provide.
We have been to Florida/Alabama coast during hurricane season, no issues. Just because it is hurricane season means something will happen.
We were in the storms last week here in Ohio that came thru the Midwest. We just got ready and rode it out. As big as that storm was you could not out run it.
Like other have said we have spent time in tornado shelters in campgrounds because storms come up fast. Couple of years ago a tornado hit during the Wright-Patt airbase airshow. After it went thru there it hit our campground. Numerous trees came down but luckily only 2 RVs received any damage, no injuries.
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Old 08-19-2020, 12:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Filthy-Beast View Post
Iíve long thought that. It seems the southern states, except for south Florida gets hammered by tornadoes every Spring. We do our best to stay away during those times.

My DW is a fanatic when it comes to storms. We will pull in our slides and stow all our gear, when storms are approaching. We usually investigate what the park offers for shelter. We have a small go bag ready should we need to seek shelter, away from the coach.
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Old 08-19-2020, 01:29 PM   #12
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My DW is a fanatic when it comes to storms. We will pull in our slides and stow all our gear, when storms are approaching. We usually investigate what the park offers for shelter. We have a small go bag ready should we need to seek shelter, away from the coach.

Good suggestions: pull in the slide; stow outside stuff; know when you check in what county you're in so you can track the storm on a weather radio; ask office about nearest storm shelter. have a 'go to' bag ready.
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Old 08-19-2020, 01:35 PM   #13
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Yes, storm prep includes pulling in slides, awnings, stowing gear and if electrical storm, UNPLUG FROM SHORE POWER.
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Old 08-19-2020, 09:23 PM   #14
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I don’t worry about the weather per se. I did have a camper blow over on it’s side in Wyoming a few years ago due to sustained 65 mph winds which has really messed with my head. It was midnight and the travel trailer I was pulling went over. It popped oof the ball but the safety chains stayed hooked up. I was sure the camper was going to get blown over the bank and drag me and my truck with it. Being dark I had no idea how deep the bank was. I had to sit and ride it out until morning.
I discovered an app and website called Wind Alert (WindAlert.com) that displays the winds for seven days ata time in three hour increments. It has proven to be very accurate over the years and has saved my bacon many times. I can’t recommend it enough.
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