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Old 04-21-2020, 05:11 PM   #21
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This is a great question.

I think Safrog's comments capture what we try to do. When 1) traveling in tornado country and 2) seeing that weather conditions are ripe for storms, we ask the management and check out where the tornado shelter might be at that night's campground. We were surprised to find many campgrounds in places like South Dakota, Oklahoma or Wisconsin dd not have an actual tornado shelter.

I try to formulate a worst case scenario and plan where we would go (with our dogs).

RV's are a worst place to be because they are mobile, by which I mean they can overturn, roll over and over and explode (be blown to pieces). If the unit does stay stationary then it can be punctured like a pin cushion by 2x4's, fence poles, tree branches and telephone poles.

A weather radio inside the RV is a must, but you have to understand too that tornados can stray from a predicted path or may grow in size to take in larger areas. New tornadoes can form away from a predicted path. The weather radio is just a valuable tool, mostly to confirm a tornado warning, which means a tornado is on the ground.

I still remember travelling through South Dakota in the late 70's in a complete driving-rain thunderstorm and seeing a haystack blazing away like a building on fire after a lightning strike. Bad weather can do crazy things.

I think the best thing is to take five minutes after you arrive for the night -- especially if conditions are ripe for a bad storm -- to make a plan for where you are (your campground) using all the available information. Ask the management as they know the area. The best refuge is a basement or a brick or cinder block building nearby. But often, those are in short supply.
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Old 04-21-2020, 05:52 PM   #22
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My wife and I were in Fredricksburg, Texas at a park in the middle of town. We were sound asleep when our cell phones went off with a weather alert around midnight saying there was a tornado warning, with a tornado on the ground north of town. We flew out of bed and threw the dog and ourselves in the truck. As we went out the door we noticed that no one else in the park was even looking out the window. We drove up the street and the first sign we saw said to avoid low lying areas due to flash flooding. We were freaked out and just drove around a little bit, but didn't see any activity. It was raining C's and D's, and we had no idea what to do. Finally drove back through the park, and again noticed it was very quiet. Nobody evacuating, nobody looking out. We finally just returned to the trailer and waited out the storm. Hard to know what to do when awakened out of a sound sleep, and you really don't know where you are relative to the rest of the world. Not even sure what I would do today in the same situation, but as others have said, try to make a plan in advance. You won't be able to figure it out in the middle of the night. One other thing, we had no idea there were severe thunderstorms predicted for that area.
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:32 PM   #23
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The midwest way is to grab a beer sit down and watch the storm. Last time we were camping and one came through the fire dept came through the ground and said just be ready. 10 min later the ambulance came through telling us to evacuate and seek shelter. The camp ground didnt have a shelter building. So we finished putting the awning down and items away. Went to my sister's sat on the porch and watched the storm it was theblast storm I got to watch with my dad he passed a few months later
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:34 PM   #24
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To the OP question, what do you do in case of Tornado.

First be as prepared as possible. Such as downloading weather programs in advance. Set the programs up properly on your phone to get the best and earliest advance warning you can.
Know where the storm shelters are located at in the area your staying in.
Any block or brick structure will provide you with the safest protection in light of any below ground shelters. Some parks have shelters, Most don't.

Download AccuWeather, NOAA weather, WunderMap, among other weather related apps.
It never hurts to have to many weather programs installed on your phone. I like to have a couple different radar looks in helping me make the best decision.

Lots of folks say they don't spend time watching TV while camping. I always make it a point to catch some local news and weather just to stay on top of upcoming weather conditions for the local area I'm camping in.

This way I can look at sky conditions on the day the say there is a chance for severe storms and that helps me make decisions and get prepared.

Set up weather App's to where the weather program is allowed to know your location 24/7, as you travel, the weather program can notify you of storms around you.
Some of those apps I mentioned let you set the mileage distance for notification/alerts to incoming approaching storms.

As most will tell you, pull slides in to reduce wind drag and reduce chance of water entering your rig around slide out seals.
If you're aware that severe storms are expected to occur, and your slides aren't capable of being brought in without having to rearrange/remove certain items in order to do so, Please remove obstructions before going to sleep that night.
If a heavy rain/thunderstorm happens In the middle of night, chances are you want be able to move slides in quickly enough to prevent water from entering the RV and thus causing possible water damage.

Same things goes for day trips, if you know that there is a chance of heavy rains or storms, be sure and run your slides in before you leave out for the day. While your out on that day trip, it might be advisable to go into a store and ride storm out inside store. If you did indeed put your slides in before you left out for the day, you should find no problems when you return.

We've found hospitals to be good places to ride out a storm, they always have stairs which are built into the center of the buildings core. Office buildings are the same way, have great stairwells and protection from the storm.

Always upon checking in I ask and write down the city and county where park is actually located in. Also ask if the area your staying in is referred to by locals under a different name. Most times you'll get an answer like "Well if you tell them your out by ???"
Some times the weather guy might make a reference to what the locals call a general area, so I've found it can be helpful to know before the storms happen.

*** The one piece of PPE that we use at home and RV is Motorcycle Helmets***

They are located in one area of our home and RV, so no searching for them. I bought brand new Bluetooth enabled helmets with full face shields. Helmets we purchased are able to flip up from bottom chin area section so you now have an open face helmet so you can talk while still wearing helmet. So this helmet is sorta the best of both worlds.
Thought Bluetooth option could be used to communicate with wife during actual storm, provided they were charged and pared with each other. Thankfully we haven't had to use them.
The idea about using motorcycle helmets came to me after watching news channels showing people with severe head injuries that could have been prevented by using a motorcycle helmet.
The second benefit I see in using motorcycle helmets is to protect face and eyes form all the flying debris.

That's about all I have for tips and tricks for tornado weather.

Gary
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:12 AM   #25
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I agree best plan is to be prepared ask when checking in where would be the best/safest place for you to seek shelter. We lost our home to one in 75. I have a huge respect for them. Ever bored google May 75 tornado Omaha.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:50 AM   #26
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We were in a State Park just outside Des Moines IA a couple of years ago, there was a Sever T storm warning, it was late afternoon, as the Park employees were leaving they said everyone should pack up and leave !!!
There were 2 small bathrooms, many many trees, NO SHELTER !!!

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Old 04-22-2020, 03:13 PM   #27
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We were in a State Park just outside Des Moines IA a couple of years ago, there was a Sever T storm warning, it was late afternoon, as the Park employees were leaving they said everyone should pack up and leave !!!
There were 2 small bathrooms, many many trees, NO SHELTER !!!


Sounds like sound advice was given. Did you?
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Old 04-22-2020, 03:29 PM   #28
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Actually running would be a much better idea than staying in an RV. I would head for a nice cinder block bathhouse, a culvert anything better than RV. If not at a campground, I would try to get away from most trees that could fall and crush you.

NJKris is right on! I am in Alabama. We had nine tornadoes last week end alone, and some on Easter Sunday. More possible tonight and tomorrow. One campground near us had MANY campers with multiple trees on them, pick ups shattered by trees, etc. Leave the trailer, find a solid structure. And, PREPLAN for such an event.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:11 PM   #29
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lived in a mobile home for years in tornado alley - when storms were too close had all my stuff packed & we headed to the collage it time & across the street to the inground pool if there wasn't. If we needed to everyone would have hopped on in & been below ground level - in a cement structure. Had a dear friend encounter a tornado while traveling during those years & she rode it out in a ditch on the side of the road successfully - fortunately her vehicle did as well.
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Old 04-23-2020, 09:10 AM   #30
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Sounds like sound advice was given. Did you?
No we road it out, would have left, but were there in a Small Motorhome, if we would have had a Truck & Trailer, like we have now, we would probably leave ?
Like the Park Rangers !!!
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:37 AM   #31
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If you have time and severe weather is forecast, this is what I do.

1) I secure what I can inside the trailer and close the roof vents.

2) Fill the fresh water tank with fresh water. This serves two purposes; one, it adds ballast to the trailer and two if the campground's water supply goes out due to power disruption I will have fresh water.

3) Close the slides.

4) (5th wheel) Connect the truck to the camper and lower the stabilizers to ground contact while keeping as much weight on the truck that I can and still have some on the stabilizers and front jacks. I would do the similar for a travel trailer.

5) Unhook all umbilical (power, water, and sewer) and store.

6) Open windows on the downwind side and using duct tape make rain gutters to keep runoff out of the camper. By opening windows, you will be attempting to equalize the air pressure between the inside and outside of the camper. It is the unequal air pressure that causes campers to explode if not directly impacted by a twister.

7) Locate the campgrounds tornado shelter and prepare to go there. Ask about your pets ahead of time. Assemble any important papers (include insurance contact information) and small valuables then put into 1 gallon ziplock bags in a small backpack that you will take to the shelter. Also pack a few bottles of water; it will get really hot in there. Keep your electronics (fully charged phones, USB power banks, and such) in their own ziplock bags.

8) You should always travel with a weather warn radio with the audible alter turned on. I use this one:

https://midlandusa.com/product/hh54vp/

It uses AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs. BRING IT WITH YOU (spare batteries too)

9) As soon as you hear the warning, grab your gear and securely harnessed pets and proceed without delay to the shelter. If it is far away from your campsite, I would consider going early and hang out with other early arrivals.

Hopefully after it passes, you can all have a good laugh and return to your safely secured and undamaged camper.

Personally, I would rather be hunkered down in a tornado shelter than on the road trying to figure out where to drive to avoid a tornado producing storm.

1) Tornado paths are not all that predictable. You are just as likely to drive into its path in the rain than out of it.

2) Storms that produce tornadic activity can produce several funnels and some may be obscured by rain shafts.

3) if you are caught on the road, the outcome will not be good. Even wind gusts can destroy your rig even if a tornado is not produced at all.
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:32 AM   #32
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Iíve survived 3 tornadoes so many of your ideas are great - weather radio; locating storm shelter @ RV Park, truck stop; using cell for location & looking up towns & counties around you. Keep shoes, flashlight, phone, anything of importance by your bed. There may be no warning siren.

If youíre driving, have someone watch clouds to see if clouds are going different directions. This often is the beginning of a funnel. If RV is rocking both directions, pull over, get out & run to ditch away from rig. Lay face down with hands behind your head. Do not go under bridge or overpass due to the wind suction. It is often raining so you may not see a tornado.

Tornadoes are everywhere so donít let them stop you from traveling.
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:41 AM   #33
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Iíve survived 3 tornadoes so many of your ideas are great - weather radio; locating storm shelter @ RV Park, truck stop; using cell for location & looking up towns & counties around you. Keep shoes, flashlight, phone, anything of importance by your bed. There may be no warning siren.

If youíre driving, have someone watch clouds to see if clouds are going different directions. This often is the beginning of a funnel. If RV is rocking both directions, pull over, get out & run to ditch away from rig. Lay face down with hands behind your head. Do not go under bridge or overpass due to the wind suction. It is often raining so you may not see a tornado.

Tornadoes are everywhere so donít let them stop you from traveling.
Yep, I agree.

A tornado, when I am forced to be on the road, is a real worry. If severe weather threatens for my planned travel day and arrival campground, I usually attempt to extend at the current campground rather than take my chances on the road.

If I think I can beat weather that is due to strike my planned campground area the next day, I have diverted off my planned route to get out of the path. Normally, you won't get that much warning, but do try to pay attention to the weather while traveling so you get as much notice as possible to make plan changes.
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Old 04-23-2020, 12:19 PM   #34
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For those of you who travel with NOAA S.A.M.E. weather radios, do you change settings to allow all notifications being broadcast in range? Do you periodically change the channel so you know you are getting reception? I'm wondering if it is not more effective to just rely on cell phone alerts. At home, I get weather radio warnings on the radio, that don't come across phone, like severe thunderstorm warnings.
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Old 04-23-2020, 02:43 PM   #35
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For those of you who travel with NOAA S.A.M.E. weather radios, do you change settings to allow all notifications being broadcast in range? Do you periodically change the channel so you know you are getting reception? I'm wondering if it is not more effective to just rely on cell phone alerts. At home, I get weather radio warnings on the radio, that don't come across phone, like severe thunderstorm warnings.
I also have a weather warn in my cell phone. I have found the NOAA broadcasts to be more reliable. The coverage area of the 2 meter NOAA repeaters are quite large with good overlap. Many will have a scan feature and lock on the strongest signal as you drive along.

The one I mentioned in a previous post will do that, but is no longer available I see.

https://midlandusa.com/product/hh50b...rt-radio-copy/

HH50B Pocket Weather Alert Radio

Perfect to take on the go, the HH50 emergency weather radio automatically scans all NOAA weather channels and conveniently fits into your pocket or purse.

FREE shipping on all orders over $100.
$24.99
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Old 04-23-2020, 02:43 PM   #36
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NJKRIS.
AccuWeather on your phone will give you all you need.
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Old 04-23-2020, 02:49 PM   #37
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NJKRIS.
AccuWeather on your phone will give you all you need.
Provided you have good cell phone coverage where you camp it is certainly a good option; though not as reliable as a NOAA radio.

NOAA also warns of flooding and other disasters of interest to campers that local weather stations (on your phone), may not send alerts for.
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Old 04-23-2020, 03:24 PM   #38
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I have a scan function on my Midland two way radios for weather, maybe I'll take them instead of my home radio, which is this one:


https://midlandusa.com/product/wr-120-weather-radio/


Apparently the two way radios do have a scan function:
NOAA Weather Alert Radio with Weather Scan - Automatically locks on to your local weather channel and alerts you to severe weather
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Old 04-23-2020, 03:28 PM   #39
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Agree on Must have cell phone coverage vs OTA NOAA radio reports.
Thing I like about AccuWeather is it gives the warnings at the same time as NOAA radio coverage does.
AccuWeather has a Large Radar viewing area with a future track system to show you whee the storms will be tracking. Gives loud warnings over phone to notify of incoming Tornado Watch and Tornado Warning, Flash Flooding, Hail, Lightning ETC.

Depending on how you setup AccuWether it can tell you that a storm or rain will be at your location within X amount of time.
I like to know when it's about to rain so I can take dogs for a walk prior to storms.
AccuWeather I say is my favorite phone app for sure but it's not going to replace NOAA Radio by any means.

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Old 04-23-2020, 03:37 PM   #40
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Also have the NOAA app on my iPhone as well.

Gary
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