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Old 11-27-2006, 07:25 AM   #1
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Default RV Emergency Weather Planning 101

RV Emergency Weather Planning 101
By Mark Polk

I love the freedom of the open road. There is nothing like exploring the back roads in your RV. You can go where you want and when you want, in your house on wheels, and because of this, often times you find yourself in a new destination everyday. Something that many RVers do not take into consideration with this freedom to roam is the weather conditions where you are traveling to or spending the night. RVís are great, but they are not safe in severe weather like lightning and thunderstorms with high winds, tornadoes and hurricanes.

When you are at home, you usually know what the weather forecast is from the newspaper, radio or television. When you travel three or four hundred miles a day in your RV the weather conditions can change several times. Many times when you stop for the night somewhere all you want to do is get some rest. The weather is the last thing on your mind. The problem with this is severe weather can occur without much warning, and if you are caught in it, it can be disastrous.

So, what do we do, whatís the plan? PLAN is the key word here. RVers need to have an emergency plan in case of a severe storm. For starters, have you ever heard of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or NWR? The NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service Office. They broadcast National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day. Alerts inform people if they need to take some type of action in order to protect themselves, such as "seeking shelter" or "to evacuate an area immediately!Ē What does this mean to RVers? It means if you owned a battery operated weather radio receiver you could monitor weather conditions no matter where you are!

Every RVer should own a weather radio receiver. Receivers are available at most retail stores that sell electronic equipment. Prices can range anywhere from $25 to $200 depending on the quality of the receiver and its features. I personally own two weather radio receivers. My Midland WR-300 works off AC power or four AA batteries when the power is out. It has an alert feature that alarms when the National Weather Service issues severe weather announcements or emergency information. I also have a portable handheld Midland 40 channel CB, with a 10-weather channel receiver. It works off six AA rechargeable batteries or any 12-volt receptacle. It is well worth the investment to know what type of weather to expect when traveling or camping in your RV. When we are at home, we use the weather radio receiver in the house. For more information on the NOAA Weather Radio visit their website at

OK, the first step to our emergency weather plan is to get a weather radio receiver if you donít already have one, and to always monitor it when you use your RV. The next step is to develop an emergency evacuation plan, to use in the event of severe weather. When you arrive at a campground, ask at the check-in desk about an emergency plan in case of a severe storm such as a tornado, or a thunderstorm with high winds. If they donít have a plan you need to make your own. Locate a structure that is safer than your RV, like a bathhouse or the campground office. Always stay on the lowest level possible and away from doors and windows. Brief everybody with you on the emergency plan. Explain to children how to respond to different disasters and the dangers of severe weather, fires, and other emergencies. Instruct children on emergency exits. Instruct them on how and when to call 911. Make sure everybody knows exactly what his or her job is in case of severe weather. Monitor the weather radio for emergency information. Emergency weather watches and warnings are for counties and towns, so always check a map for the county or town where you are staying.

Have an emergency supply kit made up and easily accessible. The kit should contain flashlights, batteries, rain ponchos, a portable weather radio, first aid kit, non- perishable packaged or canned food and a manual can opener, blankets, prescription and non-prescription drugs, pet supplies, bottled water and any special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

To learn more about how to prepare for and react to different types of severe weather take a moment to visit

Remember, RVís are not safe in severe weather! This includes severe thunderstorms with high winds, tornadoes and hurricanes. Learn about different types of weather hazards, get a weather radio if you donít have one, create a plan with your family, practice and maintain the plan. Now go RVing and have fun.

Happy Camping,


Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101

RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books.

Mark Polk is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Three, specializing in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations. In addition to owning and operating RV Education 101, (based in North Carolina) since 1999, Polk also has a very extensive RV background working in RV service, sales and management. Polk has a degree in Industrial Management Technology and his 30 plus years of experience in maintenance includes working as an RV technician, a wheeled vehicle and power generation mechanic, an automotive maintenance technician, Battalion and Brigade level Maintenance Officer, an RV sales manager and also in the RV financing department as the Finance & Insurance manager.

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Old 04-02-2019, 05:13 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info, very helpful
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Old 04-04-2019, 01:49 PM   #3
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The weather radio is a good idea and I have one in the house and the Camper. It has solar charging and a hand crank for charging and can charge a cell phone as well.

But the problem with the NOAA broadcast is it refers to counties when describing the location of severe weather and that isn't very helpful when traveling all over the country and you're not familiar with the local county names.

I use 2 apps on my cell phone that send alerts when there is severe weather approaching wherever we happen to be. One is 'Tornado' by the Red Cross and the other is 'WSB-TV Channel 2 Weather' by the Atlanta, Georgia channel 2 TV station, but it works everywhere in the country. Other TV stations may provide a similar app

And both apps have live radar so you can see where the weather is located relative to your location.
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:09 PM   #4
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Nice post,thank you for sharing.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info! Planning on stationary summer living in a campground in the high desert of southeastern Idaho. My daughter who lives in Almo relates stories of high winds, hail, and fast moving thunderstorms. No more tent camping for me! Will be buying my first small used RV and safety in extreme weather is a high priority.
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Old 02-04-2023, 07:33 PM   #6
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This is on another rv message board. Learn about the coming weather from natures signals.
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Old 02-07-2023, 02:22 AM   #7
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In 2023 your best weather forecasting tool is a weather app on a smart phone.
2024 Airstream Interstate 19
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Old 02-07-2023, 01:35 PM   #8
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I agree that the technology is the page we may all be on now. But in the spirit of the thread "Emergency Planning", should storms have disabled the source our cells rely on it would be nice to have some old fashioned skills to fall back on.

I once spoke with an airline pilot who told me he had to learn weather reading skills in the military. He explained that he's constantly "reading the clouds" as he flies.

No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.
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Old 02-07-2023, 01:50 PM   #9
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Awareness of live time wind direction and temperature changes is a valuable practice.
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Old 02-07-2023, 02:32 PM   #10
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We also carry a NWS radio which is useful in general, but as said you better have maps that show what county you are in or you don't know if danger is imminent or not. Life can get really tough if you lose cell coverage and the internet that goes with it as all you have is radio or TV if they are working.

I have been playing with weather Apps lately trying to find one that works for us. What appears to be a big deal is the update rate of their "live" radar. I have tried some that never auto update and you have to go off the radar screen and back on to get it to update. All the other I have tried, or read about, seem to use update rates of up the 20-30 minutes, which is not often enough for good prewarning of tornadoes or other severe storms. I assume they do that to save data use and phone battery power. If we have cell coverage a storm is possible I usually take out the laptop and use the phone as a hotspot so I can get a computer based radar on The Weather Channel or someplace else and it will be nearly "live". I haven't tried doing the internet based website weather radar on the phone, but probably should do that to see how well it works in case we are away from the van.
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