RV Safety Tips for Spring and Summer Storms


Julie Chickery

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Julie and her husband Sean started traveling in their RV full-time 4 years ago after they each served 20 years in the US Air Force. Having lived in more than 10 states and 4 countries, the Chickerys decided it was time to enjoy the rest of the United States. They manage Chickery’s Travels, an educational and inspirational blog and YouTube channel aimed at helping people realize their full-time travel dreams.

Summer and spring seasons are the best time to go camping, but also the most unpredictable when it comes to weather. Too often, this weather can come out of nowhere. While you’re enjoying your spring and summer RV vacation, an unexpected storm may be brewing.

These tips will help you prepare for bad weather that can occur when you least expect it. But the best way to cover all your bases is to start with a good RV insurance plan. Specialize your plan to the weather indicative of where you camp often with custom plans by Good Sam.

Prepare for a Storm

Adventure Vanlife Travel Camping With Motorcycle and Bicycle By 4x4 Car Orange Van In South West Portugal Sagres Algarve Region By Atlantic Ocean Coast Bright Colurful Vibrant Overcast Stormy Sky

While it is difficult to predict Mother Nature, you can take steps ahead of time to prepare yourself for potential storms, minimize damage, and keep your family safe.

First, when planning a trip be aware of weather forecasts. RVs can be a dangerous place to be in a storm, so the best option is to avoid storms if at all possible. When we were traveling to Florida during hurricane season, we kept an eye on the NOAA website and are prepared to cancel our trip or leave early if a hurricane forms.

Not all storms give as much warning. Tornados are one of them. While we know that most tornadoes strike during March through June, tornadoes have occurred in other months of the year. One important piece of equipment every RV should have is a weather alert radio. These radios have a battery backup so you are sure to receive the warning even if you are dry camping and don’t have shore power.

A weather alert radio should be battery powered, and have a built in flashlight and siren.

The difference between a weather watch and a weather warning:

  • A storm watch means that there is a high possibility that severe weather will occur. You should continue to listen for key information and pay attention to visible weather changes
  • A storm warning means that severe weather is already happening or will happen very soon. This is the time for you and your family to take immediate action.

Plan Ahead for a Storm

Landscape With Road and Storm on the Horizon

Before you leave home, you’ll want to devise your plan for what to do if you find yourself caught in a sudden storm.  Discuss the plan with the entire family so everyone knows to act quickly.

In many cases, the plan will be to leave the RV and seek shelter. Therefore it is a good idea to prepare an emergency supply kit or grab bag and place it somewhere in your RV that is accessible.

Your kit you should include things like:

Also, be sure to keep sturdy shoes and jackets near the door of your camper. Here’s how to plan for several different storms or natural disasters.

How to Prepare for Thunderstorms in an RV

Thunderstorms have numerous dangers including lightning, high winds, and floods. Make sure the entire family knows to move indoors during a thunderstorm. There is no safe place outdoors when lightning is present. Take these steps to prepare for a thunderstorm.

  • Pull in your awnings
  • Pack up loose items outside to prevent them from being blown around
  • Use a surge protector so your RV appliances don’t get fried in the event lightning strikes your power lines.

Before venturing outside after a storm, be aware that high winds and lightning can break large tree branches off and down power lines.

Storm cloud formation over the beach in Pensacola, Florida. Image: Shutterstock

How to Prepare for Flash Floods in an RV

Flash floods are one of the top weather-related killers in the U.S. each year and should be taken very seriously. Again, avoiding areas where this could happen is the best step.

Do this by avoiding camping in low-lying areas in case heavy thunderstorms move in quickly. Also, avoid setting up camp near a stream or river in case it overflows.This is particularly good advice when you’re boondocking and choosing your own place to park. Be sure you’re not in a river bed!

If you are in a danger zone, head to high ground as soon as you know there is a flash flood watch or warning in effect.

Flow of water during heavy rain and clogging of street drainage can happen, leaving you stranded in flood zones.

How to Prepare for Hurricanes in an RV

As previously mentioned, hurricanes that make landfall usually allow warning for those in its path because they build strength over the ocean before making their way to the coast.

Never attempt to ride out a hurricane in an RV. Plan to evacuate, and do it as soon as possible so you don’t get caught in significant traffic or horrible weather. Though meteorologists do their best to predict a hurricane’s path, they can change course at any moment. Even if the hurricane isn’t headed directly at you, it’s best to play it safe.

If you have time, store your RV somewhere indoors, like a boat/rv storage facility. Ride out the hurricane in a sturdy building made of concrete block.

RV after hurricane michael
Mexico Beach, Florida, 2018. Hurricane Michael, caused destructive damage to this Motorhome RV. Image: Shutterstock

How to Prepare for Tornadoes in an RV

Tornadoes are the most unpredictable of all storms and can appear with little to no warning. If you’re traveling in areas that are prone to tornadoes, be sure to ask about storm shelters as soon as arriving at the campground.

The best refuge is underground. If that is not possible, try the campground bathhouse, putting as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible and stay away from windows.

If you’re nowhere near a shelter when the tornado hits, the best thing you can do is lie as flat as you can in a ditch, ravine, creek bed, or another low-lying area.

A tornado cell as it begins to form.
A tornado cell as it begins to form. Watch out for tornados in states that are flat, like Oklahoma, Arkansas, and the midwest. Image: Shutterstock

Most importantly, don’t forget that you and your family’s safety is more important than any possessions, including your RV. Don’t try to save your possessions. They can be replaced. The right RV insurance plan will cover most losses in the event of a spontaneous storm. Insure through Good Sam to get a competitive rate and bundled plans.

Take inclement weather seriously, be prepared, and evacuate if needed. If you work weather preparation into your trip planning you should be able to find a way to stay safe.

How do you stay prepared for storms and natural disasters? Leave a comment below!

RV safety tips for spring and summer storms

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