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Old 05-19-2018, 10:04 AM   #1
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Severe weather - campground evacuated

Recently by us in upstate NY a campground that we frequent was evacuated for 3 hours due to severe weather and a tornado watch. Luckily the tornado did miss the campground and no real damage occurred. We were not there at the time but the event got me thinking. What should you do in a case like that? I would bring the awning and slide out in, unplug the camper, shut gas off at the bottles and disconnect water, sewer and cable connections. And of course bring anything outside inside. And leave the camper and campground. But where do you go? If you traveled a distance to the campground you just can't go home, plus being on the road may not be safe either. The campground does have a large building on site that is used for camping events not sure if they allowed people to gather there will ask next time we visit. I suppose if there is a restaurant of diner nearby you could go there order something and wait it out. Anyone have any experience where a campground was evacuated if so what did you do? Thanks
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:08 AM   #2
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Our campground has concrete block bathrooms which are also shelters in case of severe weather. However, the area has only had 2 tornadoes since records have been kept.

I like your list of actions to take in case of severe weather make sense as long as you have enough warning time.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:30 AM   #3
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Recently by us in upstate NY a campground that we frequent was evacuated for 3 hours due to severe weather and a tornado watch. Luckily the tornado did miss the campground and no real damage occurred. We were not there at the time but the event got me thinking. What should you do in a case like that? I would bring the awning and slide out in, unplug the camper, shut gas off at the bottles and disconnect water, sewer and cable connections. And of course bring anything outside inside. And leave the camper and campground. But where do you go? If you traveled a distance to the campground you just can't go home, plus being on the road may not be safe either. The campground does have a large building on site that is used for camping events not sure if they allowed people to gather there will ask next time we visit. I suppose if there is a restaurant of diner nearby you could go there order something and wait it out. Anyone have any experience where a campground was evacuated if so what did you do? Thanks
Chances are that if a tornado is coming you won't have time to do all of that.

If a tornado is coming, crab the family and pets and head to one of the campgrounds bathroom/shower buildings if they have them.

That is about all of the time you will have, if that!
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:30 AM   #4
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In state or Fed parks, the Rangers will call the evacuation and let you know where to go. As mentioned the restrooms are usually designated as shelters.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:46 PM   #5
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In state or Fed parks, the Rangers will call the evacuation and let you know where to go. As mentioned the restrooms are usually designated as shelters.
I am going to have to ask next weekend when we are there what they or people did. No way the bathroom buildings are large enough. There is a large recreation hall on the site, near the entrance, maybe people went there to wait it out.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:55 PM   #6
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In state or Fed parks, the Rangers will call the evacuation and let you know where to go. As mentioned the restrooms are usually designated as shelters.
CT state parks specifically tell you (with signage) NOT to shelter in the buildings during severe weather. This is due to the lawyers. Someone was struck by lightning leaning against a pillar in one of the pavilions during a thunderstorm a few years back. Now you're out of luck looking for any shelter within the parks.

A truck or car will protect you in a thunderstorm but your options are limited to non-existent during a tornado warning.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:08 PM   #7
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Itís a very good question and one that I ask if I know thereís the potential of storms while Iím camping.

I just ask what do you have us do Incase of a tornado warning when I check in. Sometimes I get some quizzical looks, other times they have the answer.

For the ones that donít know, I look for the most sturdy building on my first walk around the campground.

FYI
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Old 05-19-2018, 02:57 PM   #8
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We were at a COE campground last winter when a tornado warning was issued. There was a funnel on the ground 15 miles away. We were told to head to the shower house immediately. Only about half the campers did??? Luckily there was only crazy rain and lightning. Half hour later it was nice again.
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:16 PM   #9
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We were camped in tornado country when the 12 noon test siren went off.

The only reason that we heard it was that I had stepped outside. Inside the trailer with the air conditioning on we didn't hear a thing.

We now travel with a weather radio on when we're camping. As to where to go....sometimes there isn't anywhere close.
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:46 PM   #10
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I would add that if you are just overnighting and haven't 'set up' camp and all that stuff, and you know that a tornado could be coming directly to the campground, and you have 'time' to pull in the slides and drive away, then that's what I would do, as I can keep driving for as long as I need to before coming back afterwards, or drive and park next to a substantial building.
If I was already set up and had too many things out, awnings, etc., and/or there is a long way into the campground, I would bring in the slides, awnings, and put away anything I could, but leave the air bags deflated and the leveling legs down, for the lowest center of gravity and creating the best 'foundation' near the ground, then head for the best 'shelter' right before it 'hits'...

RVs are accustomed to hitting 60 or 70 + mph winds as you are normally driving on the roads, and interstates, but they're not normally accustomed to this at the SIDES. They are vulnerable, but I also think that they can probably take more than we think.
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:53 PM   #11
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We lost everything to a tornado, house, 2 cars, boat and everything we owned. We had about 5 minutes from warning to loosing everything. When we hit the basement floor it was 30 seconds and everything was gone including 800 other houses and 400 other houses partially gone. We new there was bad weather in the area but the tornado part came fast at 65 mules and hour and 195 mpr winds. So we don't have a clue what we would do. We have a class c and I read that the best you can do is huddle down in the cab, the strongest area, but who knows.
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:59 PM   #12
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One campground we've stayed headed campers to the local hospital. Lots of places to sit and wait it out. And usually well marked roads to get there. Hope none of us ever have to use one.
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Old 05-19-2018, 04:07 PM   #13
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We experienced evacuations 3 times in 2 days at Laura Walker SP, Waycross GA. Each time our phones went off, the rangers sent us to a campground bathroom, menís and womenís side separated by a single hall. Hunkered down until all clear after one tornado touched down a mile east. I already had the awning in and am glad because, there was no time to do much of anything other than scurry to the shelter.
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Old 05-19-2018, 04:28 PM   #14
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I would add that if you are just overnighting and haven't 'set up' camp and all that stuff, and you know that a tornado could be coming directly to the campground, and you have 'time' to pull in the slides and drive away, then that's what I would do, as I can keep driving for as long as I need to before coming back afterwards, or drive and park next to a substantial building.
If I was already set up and had too many things out, awnings, etc., and/or there is a long way into the campground, I would bring in the slides, awnings, and put away anything I could, but leave the air bags deflated and the leveling legs down, for the lowest center of gravity and creating the best 'foundation' near the ground, then head for the best 'shelter' right before it 'hits'...

RVs are accustomed to hitting 60 or 70 + mph winds as you are normally driving on the roads, and interstates, but they're not normally accustomed to this at the SIDES. They are vulnerable, but I also think that they can probably take more than we think.

Not in a tornado they don't. I've been in an RV park when a tornado paid us a visit. It went through the west end of the park and destroyed a brand new Class A diesel pusher and an 8X40' park model. They were both "intact" but only in the broadest sense. The tornado was an EF-1. In anything stronger, they will be completely torn apart.


Never remain in an RV in tornadic weather. If the RV park doesn't have a shelter, find a deep bar ditch and lie down in it. Some think a large culvert will work but you could get sucked out if one end isn't blocked up or drowned in the case of a sudden downpour and a flash flood. Either way, you will still probably be injured no matter what. So if you go into an RV park look around and identify when potential shelters might be located and how long it will take for your family to reach them. Remember that it will take longer for elderly or infirm people to get the shelter than those who are younger and in good shape.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:03 PM   #15
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In late March, we were at a park in Adair GA. There were all kinds of warnings up. So we pulled everything in. When the storm line got to about 30 miles we drove over to a large truck stop that had a reinforced building. Sat and talked to the workers as truckers kept stopping for fuel. Ate an ice cream. After the storm line passed, we went back to the trailer. No issues.
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:04 AM   #16
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Not in a tornado they don't. I've been in an RV park when a tornado paid us a visit. It went through the west end of the park and destroyed a brand new Class A diesel pusher and an 8X40' park model. They were both "intact" but only in the broadest sense. The tornado was an EF-1. In anything stronger, they will be completely torn apart.


Never remain in an RV in tornadic weather. If the RV park doesn't have a shelter, find a deep bar ditch and lie down in it. Some think a large culvert will work but you could get sucked out if one end isn't blocked up or drowned in the case of a sudden downpour and a flash flood. Either way, you will still probably be injured no matter what. So if you go into an RV park look around and identify when potential shelters might be located and how long it will take for your family to reach them. Remember that it will take longer for elderly or infirm people to get the shelter than those who are younger and in good shape.
Agreed, if they get hit broadside with high winds they can and will tip over. A few years back during a severe thunderstorm a couple of RVs were crossing a bridge over the Mohawk river north of Albany NY and got hit broadside winds and both even though connected to the tow vehicles were totally destroyed. Debris everywhere.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:26 AM   #17
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My procedure when we get a tornado warning at home in Florida is to shelter in our central bathroom with the following:

Motorcycle or bicycle helmets.

Leatherman style multi tool.

2 long pry bars.

A loud sports whistle.

Basic first aid kit.

Cell phones and weather radio.

Bottled water.

Flashlights.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:31 PM   #18
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Recently by us in upstate NY a campground that we frequent was evacuated for 3 hours due to severe weather and a tornado watch. Luckily the tornado did miss the campground and no real damage occurred. We were not there at the time but the event got me thinking. What should you do in a case like that? I would bring the awning and slide out in, unplug the camper, shut gas off at the bottles and disconnect water, sewer and cable connections. And of course bring anything outside inside. And leave the camper and campground. But where do you go? If you traveled a distance to the campground you just can't go home, plus being on the road may not be safe either. The campground does have a large building on site that is used for camping events not sure if they allowed people to gather there will ask next time we visit. I suppose if there is a restaurant of diner nearby you could go there order something and wait it out. Anyone have any experience where a campground was evacuated if so what did you do? Thanks
Paul,
I saw the title of your post and read it due to this happening on Tuesday at the campground where I have my seasonal site. Turns out we are probably writing about the same campground in Saugerties. I was not there this week, so I don't know what damage was incurred, but I haven't heard any reports of any damage. I be there up on Tuesday, this weekend's rain changed my plans. I believe that they evacuate to the recreational hall up front if you do not leave the campground but am not sure. Two years ago they had announced an evacuation on a weekend that we were camping and we left before the storm hit and headed down to the Hudson Valley Mall to walk around until the storm passed. The owners do care about its guests safety and well being which is why they evacuate.
Hopefully the campground and everyone's sites are OK. I know over the last two years a lot of trees have fallen and the Hemlocks are being devastated by the beetles (not The Beatles, John, Paul ,George and Ringo).
A story I read in the newspaper the other day was disturbing that the Kingston School District refused to dismiss children on the afternoon of the storm until it passed as it was occurring around 230pm and parents told their children to disregard and leave the school anyway.

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Old 05-20-2018, 07:18 PM   #19
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We had a tornado go through Nappanee IN several years ago. My husband and I took a drive through the area the next day. There was an RV factory with an area full of big 5th wheels and all of them were completely tossed all over the place like toys. And I'm pretty sure that was just an F1.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:37 PM   #20
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A story I read in the newspaper the other day was disturbing that the Kingston School District refused to dismiss children on the afternoon of the storm until it passed as it was occurring around 2:30 pm and parents told their children to disregard and leave the school anyway.
That's pretty funny...

When I was a school kid back in the late 60's and early 70's, while I always appreciated the opportunity to get out of school early, I used to wonder why in the heck did the parents and school officials send us all out on the streets when the threat of impending bad weather was upon us

And here I thought they were supposed to be the smart ones...
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