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Old 07-08-2019, 06:34 PM   #1
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Exclamation Disaster: 4th of July Boondocking, Badlands

7/4/19 - 5 days of Boondocking in the Badlands. This will be a 4th of July we will not soon forget! The day was beautiful. Nice cool weather. Scattered clouds most of the day. Then...Our first night, 4th of July... we had a super powerful severe storm come through. On radar, we were in the "red" for almost 20 minutes! The wind gust were hitting 70+ mph! The combo of rain and hail hitting the roof of the trailer along with the winds was soooo LOUD! The whole trailer was rocking and then finally, LIFTOFF!! The front of our trailer moved about 2 feet. This was a "Pray out loud moment"!!! The winds beat against the trailer so hard the kitchen slide was being "pushed in" which caused rain to enter through the top of the slide. (yes, we attempted to bring the slide in, but it was too late, it wasn't moving on battery power.) Our hearts were beating like crazy!! We stood in the kitchen slide (by oven) to add more weight to it to keep it from pushing in for 15 min. (praying the whole time) Unknown to us till the morning, another camper up the road from us, his camper got pushed over the cliff! The guy had just opened his door to his trailer to check on things and when he stepped out of his trailer, whooosh... his RV went over the cliff! I'm sure he is rethinking his life status now. (as we all were!) To be honest, at one point, I thought, "Well, this is it". It's a strange calm feeling. Wife asked if we should run to the truck, but the winds were so bad, I don't think we would have gotten there unless we were crawling. The winds were just that powerful along with rain and a bit of hail hitting horizontally. This was day "1". LOL! We are wiser now. The trailer is hitched to the truck and facing into the direction of any future storm. RV's are meant to handle high wind straight on. (driving down the road). That night we were getting hit broad side. A lesson learned without injury or death is always valuable! We only had damage to a solar portable solar panel which did cartwheels and also our latch for the storage on the wind side is not functional. Very minor compared to what could have happened!

So... if anyone has tips/tricks/advice/council/rants... I'm all ears. I'm sure others would benefit from input as well.


The monster:


This is how far the front of our trailer moved.


Stabalizers were dug into the ground from sliding.


Rain was "shooting" through the areas where the yellow arrows are!


He was camped just up on that ledge, not far from us.


No coming back from pancake!
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:48 PM   #2
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Wow, glad everyone made it through it safely albeit, loss of that man's camper.
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:53 PM   #3
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Our very first night with our new camper was during a tropical storm that came through the area we were camping in. They forecast wind gusts up to 40, so I figured we'd be ok. We kept the slides in and just went to bed, setting up in the morning. I can't imagine riding out your storm.

I think if I were in the other guy's shoes, I may permanently give up RVing. Scary stuff.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:28 PM   #4
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Good to hear that all are well although thoroughly humbled by the forces of Nature.


My wife and I experienced a similar happening although we were in a tent not far from where you had your experience. Luckily I had staked down the tent well and it was small (a mountaineering type designed for winds) but as soon as my wife saw lightning flashes and heard thunder she, I, and the dog, moved into our station wagon.

Ever since then, after we moved into a travel trailer, there are certain parts of the country, as well as certain months, where/when we just never traveled. Some places, regardless of a somewhat benign forecast, can have sudden severe weather outbreaks. Unfortunately you were in one of those places in a month where 40 mph winds can suddenly turn into 70 mph winds.

FWIW, even if one is careful to avoid places like Tornado Alley, etc, sudden storms can cause serious grief. Not just storms but Earthquakes, Mudslides, Wildfires, so just be prepared with an action plan in case it all turns to "excrement".

I just recently invested about 20 in a Weather Radio that only receives alerts for the area I set it for (usually state and county). I can also get an up to the minute forecast from the weather service by merely pressing a button.

Battery and AC operated. I figure it's a good investment, especially when traveling in areas subject to severe weather.

Weather around here is rather boring.

BTW one word-------- INSURANCE. Don't leave home without it.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:55 PM   #5
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Wow what an experience! Glad you’re ok and so sorry for the other man’s loss. We drove through the Badlands the afternoon of the fourth with our Shamrock 233s and camped at Spearfish Campground that night. Did not have any severe weather that I recall.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My17Ram View Post
Wow what an experience! Glad youíre ok and so sorry for the other manís loss. We drove through the Badlands the afternoon of the fourth with our Shamrock 233s and camped at Spearfish Campground that night. Did not have any severe weather that I recall.

We have been in this area since June 19th. It's like this place gets "severe" weather in pockets. On radar, rolling red blotches... other areas totally clear!

We just had "another" storm come through! Just now! This time, we had all the slides sucked in, hitched to truck, eating dinner in the bedroom. BUT... afterwards.. not more than 30 min or so ago.. we got treated to the MOST EPIC rainbow I've ever seen!



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Old 07-08-2019, 10:11 PM   #7
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Wow! Glad youíre safe! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:46 PM   #8
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Good to hear that all are well although thoroughly humbled by the forces of Nature.


My wife and I experienced a similar happening although we were in a tent not far from where you had your experience. Luckily I had staked down the tent well and it was small (a mountaineering type designed for winds) but as soon as my wife saw lightning flashes and heard thunder she, I, and the dog, moved into our station wagon.

Ever since then, after we moved into a travel trailer, there are certain parts of the country, as well as certain months, where/when we just never traveled. Some places, regardless of a somewhat benign forecast, can have sudden severe weather outbreaks. Unfortunately you were in one of those places in a month where 40 mph winds can suddenly turn into 70 mph winds.

FWIW, even if one is careful to avoid places like Tornado Alley, etc, sudden storms can cause serious grief. Not just storms but Earthquakes, Mudslides, Wildfires, so just be prepared with an action plan in case it all turns to "excrement".

I just recently invested about 20 in a Weather Radio that only receives alerts for the area I set it for (usually state and county). I can also get an up to the minute forecast from the weather service by merely pressing a button.

Battery and AC operated. I figure it's a good investment, especially when traveling in areas subject to severe weather.

Weather around here is rather boring.

BTW one word-------- INSURANCE. Don't leave home without it.
Where did you get your weather radio?
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Old 07-09-2019, 06:20 AM   #9
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Glad to here everything is ok , we had a lightening strike Canada day weekend this year in Algonquin Park , lightening struck a tree a couple of sites over travel threw the ground and zapped my sister , other then a mark on her hip all is good. Be safe all..
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Old 07-09-2019, 06:32 AM   #10
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Wife and I have a policy! Severe storms with wind and we are in the TV until its over.
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Old 07-09-2019, 08:48 AM   #11
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Glad you're ok. I've been through something similar, twice, but with my old pop up. Unzipped all the windows so the wind could blow through. The camper still moved from where I set up. Now if severe weather is expected I fill all the tanks for what little that might help.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:18 AM   #12
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Severe weather can strike anywhere and being inside a R/V during that time is scary at best. Years back, we rode out a funnel cloud storm in a pop-up camper one night at Cedar Point amusement park. WOW!

While it was scary then, we really don't plan how we position our rig when we camp now other than to get shade (if possible) or have the awning on the downwind side of moving fronts. We don't leave our rig attached to the TV.

Like Mike, years back, we purchased a dedicated weather radio ($25 on Amazon) and leave it on while we camp. If something severe is forecast for our vicinity, we take the necessary precautions but often these fronts move through and 15 miles away there is nothing. It can be so hit or miss but that doesn't mean not to heed the warnings.

Glad you were safe and enjoy the rest of your camping adventures. You may never experience anything like that again unless you stay located in a spot prone to trouble.

I had a friend that lived in tornado alley in MO. He got hit three times and finally said "I'm not staying here for number 4!" They moved.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:29 AM   #13
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Where did you get your weather radio?
You can get them lots of places. Home Depot and Lowes has them. Our local grocery store sells them, too.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:14 PM   #14
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Happy all are safe!

I spent 3 days there three summers ago. What a wonderful experience. I left when a storm was predicted. Got a clue from the major ruts left by a person leaving from the last storm. I stayed on the right side towards the Badlands gate.
Sorry the other person was pushed over the side.

Glad you're OK.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:05 PM   #15
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Two things I never travel without:
  1. Weather Alert Radio;
  2. (when the internet is available) NOAA radar and satellite maps looking over a wide area.
If you are a pilot and have a ForeFlight subscription, it will provide you with some pretty comprehensive WX info. I particularly like the METAR reports. Those of us who can read METAR have it easy with ForeFlight's selectable translation!

Also, I've had occasion to phone the regional airports' Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) to hear their weather data. Anyone can use AWOS and can grab the AWOS phone numbers for your CG's general area from this FAA website. Just enter the State and hit "Go". The rightmost table column will identify the AWOS/AWOS III stations/numbers and the map will show reporting locations.

Providing you have internet access, you can zero-in closer to your campsite with the personal stations reporting data using Weather Underground.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:30 PM   #16
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Went thru 2 hurricanes in the Florida Keys. The first we found a concrete building and kept moving to the lee side. The second was in shopping center in which we kept it heading into the wind, In both storms the wind didn't get over 110 mph.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:06 PM   #17
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Hurricanes are not uncommon where I live. The biggest damage comes when/if the garage door is blown in. For that reason our garage doors are 'special'. What happens is the wind gets inside and the roof goes. I really believe if your neighbor had not opened the door to allow the wind to pile up his camper would still be standing.
For many reasons I'd not own a 'lite' model TT or 5er. Wind is one of them.
Our phones give us weather warnings. They notified us both when a tornado was coming ~~ twice. One missed by 15 miles and another by 7 miles. Both while wintering in FL.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:08 PM   #18
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WOW, Maybe I should take stakes and tie downs now!
Probably wouldn't have done any good.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:39 PM   #19
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....that's beyond scary. Hope there was no one with that unfortunate gentleman who lost his camper. And hope yours didn't have any damage that was not immediately identifiable. We have never been in a storm like that, but we do bring-in the slides if a major storm is coming. The layout of our camper is such that we still have limited living space under those circumstances. We seldom boondock - and would avoid doing so in the summer in all but the coolest areas (unless there is an emergency requiring it, of course); so aiming the camper into the wind would not necessarily work for us. I'm sure a 70+ mph wind hitting us broadside would create more than enough excitement.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:42 PM   #20
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WOW !!! ......Glad you folks and the other gentleman are OK.


Isn't the Grace and Mercy of God a wonderful thing !!!
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