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Old 04-26-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
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Procedures for weather emergencies

In our many years of tent-camping, a few times we found ourselves in the middle of a life-threatening weather emergency. Floods and tornadoes are the usual ones in the Midwest, but there are other threats in other parts of the country, and as we intend to be visiting the rest of the country soon, I would like to hear from people that have informed recommendations for dealing with these situations, specifically with how it relates to protecting both ourselves and our Airstream. We are not alarmists, and always try to avoid potential hazardous weather, but sometimes there is no way to avoid it. Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
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I live in the Tornado alley. PAY ATTENTION! You have to be aware of your surroundings. Weather radio is a must. Look at forecasts. Be aware, Flash floods are the silent killer around here....you have to have a situational awareness....go have fun.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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Look at the campers that have died in areas next to steep creeks and rivers. Especially in mountainous areas, the thunder storms may be miles away in the high peaks, but the rain makes for flash floods that grow into monsters flowing down into narrow canyons. Beware of these areas. Pick high altitude areas over lower elevations on the same drainage. I also do not park under trees, too many limbs falling and possible trees breaking. Human varmits are another issue, so I don't park in a lonesome area by myself, although I do carry protection.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:23 PM   #4
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Living in the Midwest you know how fast a tornado can develop. Most of the parks I've camped in have a bulletin board showing the location of the designated shelter.
Sometime its a camp store or shower house. Or, as in our favorite county park, the precast concrete outhouses.

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Old 04-26-2013, 09:30 PM   #5
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A weather radio with SAME that you update with your location when you arrive. Some newish smartphones have a similar carrier-based emergency warning system that's location-specific, though it's about 3 to 1 Amber Alerts in my experience so far.

On edit: keep in mind that the smartphone is dependent on the carrier network coverage at your campsite to be of any use.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:35 PM   #6
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Any recommendations for a good weather radio that has a 'weather alert' alarm?
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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Just the cheap, generic MIDLAND WR-120 suffices. I leave them in the TT's I"ve bought and sold the past few years. Kind of like the CO and LP alarms. Best if:

1] Mounted near window for standard antenna (or) recommended exterior thru-glass antenna (order form included).

2] Alkaline batt powered, but it can be backup if wall wart 120V is plugged in.

I keep it near enough the bed to punch the "instant" for the NWS broadcast for my state/county. And to turn off alerts I've already decided to sleep through (!).

Quite a few options in set-up (not at complicated) to have it conform to your use (volume, lighting, etc).

About $35 at a discount sporting goods house.

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Old 04-27-2013, 08:39 AM   #8
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Wind - If you have to leave your trailer to take shelter, the obvious things are close the windows and put down the awnings and antennas. Is there anything to be gained by turning it into the direction the wind is coming from - assuming you actually have time to do that? In a tornado they say to leave a window open in the house - does that matter in a trailer?

Seems to me like there is usually plenty of warning about forest fires - enough to hitch up and leave - is that correct? Are there fire warnings on the weather radio?

If there is an earthquake - do you stay inside the trailer or go outside?

And thank you for all these responses - a friend mentioned recently that they touched a cactus they shouldn't have - didn't know the hazards. Made me think that there are bigger hazards in other regions that we don't know much about. For instance - my instinctive decision would have been to park in the low bottom area, to avoid wind and weather!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #9
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I don't camp in any campground located below the dam area. I see that a lot of people do it everyday. Just seems too risky for me.
Before picking a campsite I always look up at trees that are around to see if there are dead limbs that are ready to fall in a brisk wind. With cutbacks in the amount of service available at state parks and COE's these days, there are many trees that need trimming.
When camping out West in the desert (CA NV, AZ, west TX, etc.) I really pay attention to the wind forcast. I've seen winds come up fast and tear awnings off in an instant.
If you plan to leave your folding chairs outside at night, fold them up. I didn't once and found mine several campsites away in the morning (wind took them).
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #10
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Peapod, if you come on over to the northwestern states to visit places like Yellowstone and Glacier NPs, this is bear country. The common-sense precautions are not to leave any food (or anything that smells like food) lying around the campground. This means cleaning up BBQ grills, and locking picnic coolers in your vehicle for the night. Black bears are normally harmless unless they think you've got an easy snack for them to investivate. If you go hiking, it's best if you all stay together and just make a little noise so you don't startle them unaware. Sometimes idiots will try to get very close to a bear for that optimal photo. Not recommended.

In the western parks the rangers typically monitor bear activity and notify campers if one has been spotted in the campground. You will see bear-proof garbage dumpsters, which may require a little ingenuity to open.

Not meaning to alarm you! Just take sensible precautions and enjoy being out in an area that is still wild enough to have bears.

I think everyone knows about the mother bear-cub issue.

Famous last words:

"I wonder where the mother bear is."

After years of tent camping, we feel so much safer in our RV.
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:04 PM   #11
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Question.

What is the smallest calibre gun you trust to protect yourself???

The Best Answer:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My personal favorite defense gun has always been a Beretta Jetfire in 22 short. I've carried it for many years, including while hiking. I never leave without it in my pocket.

Of course, the first rule when hiking in the wilderness is to use the "Buddy System."

This means you NEVER hike alone -- you bring a friend, companion, or family member because if something happens, there's someone to go get help.

I remember one time while hiking with my girlfriend in northern Alberta, out of nowhere came this huge brown bear charging us and was she mad.

We must've been near one of her cubs.

Anyway, if I had not had my little Jetfire, I would not be here today.

Just one shot to my girlfriend’s kneecap was all it took.....the bear got her and I was able to escape by just walking at a brisk pace.


.--------------------------


Back to weather. Have a bag ready to go. Flashlight, spare keys, papers, water & energy bars, etc. A rainsuit and rubber boots. IF you have to get outside in it, be prepared.

.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:44 PM   #12
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For the money, I bought 2 of these little radios, one for my house and one for my AS. Easy to use and handy, plus you can't beat the price.

Pap


Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Ambient Weather WR-090 Emergency Pocket AM/FM/WB Weather Alert Radio with Digital Tuner and Flashlight
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peapod 1776 View Post
In our many years of tent-camping, a few times we found ourselves in the middle of a life-threatening weather emergency. Floods and tornadoes are the usual ones in the Midwest, but there are other threats in other parts of the country, and as we intend to be visiting the rest of the country soon, I would like to hear from people that have informed recommendations for dealing with these situations, specifically with how it relates to protecting both ourselves and our Airstream. We are not alarmists, and always try to avoid potential hazardous weather, but sometimes there is no way to avoid it. Thoughts? Suggestions?
We have had close calls, including one on an early trip when we were new to RVing when a tornado warning was issued but we had no idea the extent of the danger. We were in a remote area and the only local radio station was having technical problems that kept them from being able to broadcast info about the tornado warning until after the storm had passed us.

We woke up the next morning to a campground full of blown-down tents. The RVs were all OK. Most tents being sold today won't withstand much wind.

Many parks and campgrounds don't have tornado shelters so in practice the best thing to do is shelter in place anyway. Airstreams will withstand winds that will overturn mobile homes and SOBs, though falling trees remain a hazard.

In low areas prone to flooding we remain aware of the weather and river conditions and, if a hazard exists, remain hitched and otherwise plan so that we can depart quickly if necessary. We regularly stay in two campgrounds that, historically, have had flooding problems.

Quote:
On edit: keep in mind that the smartphone is dependent on the carrier network coverage at your campsite to be of any use.
I suppose it varies regionally but smartphone coverage is unreliable in many remote areas where we prefer to stay. I use the weather radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott J-24 View Post
Any recommendations for a good weather radio that has a 'weather alert' alarm?
I have this one. It is small and it works well:

Amazon.com: Sangean DT-400W AM/FM Digital Weather Alert Pocket Radio: Electronics
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:05 PM   #14
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Thank you so much for all the good replies! I hope the girlfriend recovered and forgave you! We've gleaned some good info from this - so nice to be able to chat with more experienced Streamers.
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