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Topic Storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes
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Storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes
Total Views: 10399 - Total Replies: 9
May 25 2011, 1:38 am - By zoemorn

I created a Winter Vs RV post that got some good advice rolling and experiences shared. So I wanted to hear the same about dealing with storms.

I live near Joplin MO (well hour away) that got hammered by a 3/4 mile wide tornado. there are some RV parks around and within 30 miles of there and I can't imagine what it was like for them when that storm rolled thru.

We drove home through some nasty weather after seeing some of the Joplin devastation, and all of that certainly gave us 'the willies' thinking about riding out a storm like that in an RV.  Lend your experiences.  I suppose even if you are a full time on the road type of family, can't really always count on being able to get away from it unless you're REALLY cautious and leave an area way earlier than you may need to. I'm assuming that's just one risk you have to accept?

zoemorn.blogspot.com - don't you dare!  B)
Remote Income E-book packed with Resources
May 25 2011, 3:55 am - Replied by: Technomadia

It is a risk indeed.   But life is not without risk.  

For things like hurricanes, easy enough to evacuate in plenty of time by staying alert to local weather.  Before RVing, I lived beachside in central Florida... evacuating was just a way of life there.  And I'd take that over tornados & earthquakes anyday - at least you have warning, and plenty of it.  

We were in St. Louis when the Joplin storms hit. Scary stuff.. and my heart goes out to all affected (and just sent in my Red Cross donation.. those folks are working overtime!). 

We had to head east yesterday with storms following us.  We stayed alert to the weather by tracking it on our iPhones the entire way, and planned our routes and stops accordingly. When we got to our dinner stop, we just planned to ride it out inside a nice building. 

And that's the thing.. keep alert to the weather around you. If bad stuff is coming, move yourself and your valuables to a building.  Don't be stupid and ride out a storm capable of producing tornados in your RV.   If you see a storm coming with watchings & warnings associated with it, get yourself to a place that you can get into a real building.  Of course.. a real building isn't a guarantee either. 

And keep your grab and go bag up to date and ready!  (Not familiar with a grab and go bag?  It's the bag with all the important stuff... documents you need, valuables, perhaps some basic supplies.)  Living in a hurricane prone area, we had it ready all season long.  And sailors keep one nearby in case they need to abandon ship.  Good practice for us RVers too.   

Question for everyone...  do you keep/use a weather radio in your rig for just such things?  We've thought about it, but it seems like constantly tuning it to a new location would just render it unused.  

 - Cherie
Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

May 25 2011, 4:41 am - Replied by: damonandjen

It looks like NOAA uses 7 frequencies.   I remember my grandfather had one, and it just auto tuned to the strongest local frequency.  We have a hand held CB with weather radio built in that we are going to take with us. 

I'm also thinking about putting a HAM radio in the coach, and maybe one in the car too.  If we start spending lots of time in small towns, then having hand held HAM radios would be nice too.  Way better range than CB or FRS, and very useful in disaster areas since a HAM operator's
primary function is emergency communications during disasters.  Getting your tech license is really easy since they dropped morse code from the requirements.

Speaking of Red Cross, this radio seems pretty slick.  Hand crank, solar generator, flashlight, AM/FM radio, and all 7 pre programmed weather frequencies.


Damon and Jen

1994 35' Monaco Executive
Class A Diesel pusher
2004 Subaru Baja toad

May 25 2011, 3:36 pm - Replied by: LiveWorkDream

Oh my gosh glad you guys are all OK, the devastation is so tragic. Those twisters make our Rockies weather look like a walk in the park.

As native West Coasters, Jim and I were purty stoopid about tornadoes when we hit the road. We knew nothing about them, as this vid shows.

Ever since that scary night I've turned into a weather fanatic and now tune in regularly using our Motorola two-way walkie talkies/weather radios. They are VERY handy and super critical for those times when we can't get a sat signal due to keeping the dish down because of high winds, or a wireless signal because we're out in the sticks.

Have we ever moved for a tornado? No, we just didn't "think" we needed to. In one, we didn't evacuate just because we knew that we had a nearby Missile Silo to drive into (just the truck, not the rig), which we had to do! Nothing like waving goodbye to our trailer and driving down into a concrete bunker!

During another incident in Lafayette, we were driving around town and a twister was coming toward the RV park where we were staying. It missed us by "that much."

We haven't spent that much time in the Midwest, so we can't say we have much more experience than that, although the spring winds in the southwest where we spend most of our time can give twisters some pretty stiff competition. Still, nothing like a scary twister. I feel so badly for those folks in OK and MO.

Working and Living Our Dream Life
May 25 2011, 6:14 pm - Replied by: zoemorn

Grab n Go bag huh? I'll have to read up on that should we take up the lifestyle. Do you keep that in a safe?

Yea, buildings give extra protection but are no guarantee as you stated. In the Joplin tornado, many were killed as they attempted sheltering by the walls of a Home Depot. Sadly the walls were toppled over on them. Be praying for the families of all that were lost. I sent my donation to a church collecting for Convoy of Hope that will truck in supplies.
My family was in that city the day before the tornado hit. I've seen pictures of stores that we were in, now torn apart.

Thanks for your experiences, as we're considering the lifestyle, living vicariously through your experience helps us determine the ins and outs to such a lifestyle and if its something we should attempt ourselves.
I'll tell you on thing, driving a little south of springfield MO towards Branson, I counted easily over 20 RV's on the road within a 10 mi stretch of road, plus 20 or more parked near Lambert's cafe in Ozark, definitely the season, tornadoes or not!

zoemorn.blogspot.com - don't you dare!  B)
Jun 24 2011, 4:48 am - Replied by: margielundy

We're in Joplin now, helping with cleanup. There weren't any campgrounds hit, at least the ones we know of (that are now full of contractors and volunteers such as us).  We've never had to evacuate but have been very close to tornadoes too.  We've always had a plan, whether it was a great one or not. Once we were at a Camping World lot and figured we'd just buckle into the truck and we'd be safer than being in the RV. (Store was closed).  Most of the time though, there's a building, bathroom, clubhouse nearby where we can go if needed.  We pay attention, watch our iPhone, and the sky.  We have 3 kids in tow, so we pay attention, but we don't live in fear, because life's too short. 
Jun 24 2011, 1:37 pm - Replied by: zoemorn

thanks Lundy5, you all are kinda famous (or infamous) to my wife and I. We had noticed your blog early on in our consideration of fulltiming (we're still considering.  we have some personal life crisis' to muster thru before deciding anything anyway but we enjoy the research phase). 
I have to tell you, most days our attitude about fulltiming in whatever capacity is "lets do it!" and then some major storm rolls over our area and scares a bit to a more "lets think about doing it" attitude. 
But i agree, life is too short.   I think if we had the income/health insurance (notice how i appended the two) figured out for a mobile lifestyle, we'd probably be all over it with the thought that if you were really scared of an incoming storm you could move out of the area(if given enough warning).
but since we dont have the $$/insurance thing worked out, then our compromise option is to be a more 'stay-put' fulltimer, venturing out with our home on weekends and vacations as desired - basically like the sticknbricks family minus the sticknbricks. But since that takes the biggest PRO factor of fulltiming (the adventure of travel) ... that certainly makes it a tougher decision to make.
Thanks again
zoemorn.blogspot.com - don't you dare!  B)
Jul 03 2011, 7:07 pm - Replied by: hitek_homeless

We do not have a programmable weather radio. Our biggest defense is just being aware of the forecast. I use the internet to see what weather is projected in the areas we want to visit. During serious storms, I give NWS's radar a real workout.

If we get somewhere, don't have internet, and have a weather concern, we can tune into local radio stations or set our scanner to wx to hear NWS's reports. What would we do if we were 20 miles out in the boondocks with out any structures and a tornado was on the way? I guess we would just hope for the best.

I have a love hate relationship with weather. While tornadoes and derachos (incredibly strong, straight line winds) are my biggest fears. However, I am very intrigued by weather and check it out almost daily.

So far, it has been pretty easy to avoid them if you are mobile. This isn't fool proof, as we had one go over us in Blythe, CA, a town near Quartzsite, AZ.  And, no, we don't really follow my own advice, but here it is:

While this year has been an exceptional one, tornado seasons generally follow the same trend year after year. They usually happen when an area has been warm and a cold front moves in. The warm air rises, mixes with the cold air in the front and starts a twisting. The pattern starts in the south in then moves northward. The mid west gets them really bad because of all the cold area coming off the Rockies and rolling across those warm, flat plains. Tornadoes are also a byproduct of hurricanes.

1. February = No Florida. It is the big month for them there. It's the beginning of tornado season. As it warms up, the tornado probability moves north.

2. Avoid Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Texas like the plague in late March-June. Also Missouri and Arkansas, but to a lesser extent.

3. In November, you get another round of twisters in TN, NC, KY, OH, IN, MO, AR. These are often much stronger than the spring ones.

4. Tornadoes are a by product of hurricanes, but I am sure I don't have to tell you to avoid those ;)

5. To (almost) completely avoid tornadoes at any time of the year, stay west of the Rockies. Compared to everywhere else, New England is pretty good for avoiding them, too.

Fun fact that I picked up many years ago as a Floridian: Did you know that, each year, Florida experiences more tornadoes per square mile than any other state? Most of these happen in the month of February. Thankfully for most folks, they do not exceed a rating o F2 on the Fujta Scale. Though, in a camper, an F0 can be a problem!

I know I left out a lot, but I probably included more than anyone cares about. I sure many of you already knew all of this, anyway. I am such a (weather) dork.

BTW, as for me, you couldn't pay me enough to travel in my camper through West Texas during May. I might have thrown caution to the wind by selling everything, moving into an RV and traveling full time, but I am not insane. ;)

If you are interested in educating yourself on weather patterns, and climatology, NOAA and the National Weather Service has a ton of material. They have charts, breakdowns, data going back a 100 years, and more.

Thanks. I think I just wrote my next blog post, lol.

Jenn - The Weather Junkie
A couple of 30-sometings on an ultimate adventure.
Jul 03 2011, 7:10 pm - Replied by: hitek_homeless

margielundy wrote:
We're in Joplin now, helping with cleanup.

You guys rock!
A couple of 30-sometings on an ultimate adventure.
Jul 03 2011, 8:42 pm - Replied by: zoemorn

thanks for the great tips all!
zoemorn.blogspot.com - don't you dare!  B)
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