Severe Weather and RVing

By:  Kelly Barnett

29th Mar, 17

With tornado, severe storm and flooding season just around the corner, Erika, a fellow Heartland RV owner, recommended that I write a post about what to do in the case of severe weather. It's a subject that should be taken seriously by all campers, whether you are a 'Weekend Warrior' or a Full-timer.

We moved into our Heartland Landmark Key Largo on April 27, 2011, which just so happens to be the same day that tornadoes ravaged Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama. We were about three hours south in Montgomery but storms were all around us. Tornadoes, wind, rain…you name it. We were lucky.

We spent the evening watching the weather on the television and preparing to hunker down, if needed. Fortunately, it never did come to that but it sure was not the way I had envisioned our first night as Full-timers!

Do you know what to do or where to go in the event of severe weather? When you check into an RV park or campground ask if they have a storm shelter and if so, where is it located. Often times, the restrooms or shower houses are used as storm shelters.

If they don't have a storm shelter, find a nearby place that you can get to quickly and easily enough…even if it's a ditch. The ditch will do a better job of protecting you than staying in your travel trailer.

Fellow bloggers, Tim and Emily of, experienced a hail storm that produced baseball-sized hail. With hail that size, you know it was gonna cause some damage. The glass in their bathroom skylight had several cracks and needed replacing. They were lucky.

Repair of damaged skylight in progress with old skylight on the ground below.

Investing in a weather radio also known as a NOAA radio (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) can be a good idea. A weather radio receives an emergency alert for dangerous weather events. The radio will remain silent (no weather forecasts or updates) until an alert is sounded.

Since we don't have local TV channels we utilize weather apps on our phones to help us follow the progress of any storms in our area.

Unfortunately, weather happens and when you're an avid camper or RVer you need to take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and your family safe.

While in El Paso, Texas, a few years ago, we went out to do some sight-seeing and were in the middle of a desert cemetery when a big whirlwind hit us. Thankfully, it didn't last long, and we were able to cover our faces with our shirts to prevent getting our eyes and mouths filled with sand. Once it was over we continued on our adventure, thinking nothing more of it.

A sudden windstorm in the middle of the dessert is NOT fun.

We arrived back at the FamCamp that evening to find that several campers had been 'moved' a couple of inches or even a foot or two from their original parking spots. Small items were blown here and there. We also found that the slide awning on the door-side of our fifth wheel had been torn from its awning rail and was now hanging down the side of the coach. We were lucky.

Glad it was just the slide awning and not the entire coach!

Thankfully, it was just a torn slide awning as it could have been much worse. We've all seen on the news where RV parks are hit by tornadoes, tossing RVs here and there. If/when you get a severe weather warning take it seriously and have a plan of action in place. You just never really know what to expect with the weather so being prepared and knowing your surroundings is extremely important. 

*Kelly Barnett (2PSNAPOD) is a paid contributor to HeartlandRV's blog. All opinions expressed are her own.*

Kelly Barnett

Kelly Barnett

RV There Yet Chronicles

My husband, Michael, and I have been living fulltime in our 2011 Landmark Key Largo since April of 2011 and LOVE every minute of it. 

When Michael retired from the US Army in October of 2012 (after 29 years of service) we hit the road and haven’t looked back. 

We usually work in the south Texas oilfields in the winter and spend time with our two sons and their families in the summer. We travel and sight-see as much and often as possible.