Tornado Alley

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oldcurios

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:eek:

Face it.  When you live in the South (or Midwest, or East, or...)  there are tornadoes, severe storms, hurricanes.  The latest tornado in Florida was deadly.

Reading about it this morning was so sad and it got me thinking about how to be prepared while you are living in your RV.

So I'm asking all you good folks - What do you do when you are in your RV and there are severe weather/tornado warnings?  What is the best emegency plan?  Do you have different plans for different modes of camping (remote camping vs RV Park)?

TIA,

Chuck and Ayn

 

Wendy

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We travel in Kansas most years in the spring....tornado season. We pay attention to local weather on TV and radio and make sure we know which county we're in (ever notice that severe storm warnings are usually given for counties?). And when we stop at a campground, we ask which building is the shelter. A couple of years ago, during tornado weather, we left a campground in western Kansas when the cg manager/owner told us there wasn't anyplace to go. The office was in an old wooden A-frame building that didn't look like it would hold up to a gentle breeze.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
In this age I am usually amazed when we have "Killer Tornados"  I mean, true, some tornados are just too big and too wild for everyone to get out of the way in time, but I have weather spotter training, There were over 2 dozen folks in the room last time I took the class (Last spring) I've been trained for years.  I belong to a large group of crazy folks who go out and watch for storms (part of our training involves getting out of the path of the storm I might add,  And doing it promptly... You see folks who have close up photos of a tornado.. I have one thing to say to them YOU ARE TOO CLOSE!!!!) even with a telephoto lense you are too close (I've used telephoto, remotely controlled telephoto I might add, I was miles away in a concrete bunker!!)

THe job of us weather spotters is first to watch for the evidence of a forming tornado, report on rotation in the clouds that tornados spring from, report the formation of the funnel cloud and report on touch down (The difference between a funnel cloud and a Tornado is touch down)  Then to track the path of the storm (From a safe distance)  We are taught how to do this day or night.

We then report to a central control operator who in turns reports to NOAA who then sounds the alarm.  I can tell you that we run 10 to 15 minutes ahead of the police on a bad day, more on a good one. 

Since the inception of the weather spotter program deaths due to Tornados in Michigan, and other states which have this program, have dropped seriously.  People who are forewarned can get out of the way.

There weather brueau, in our last training class, told us of a Killer tornado.  Seems this tornado crossed three states,  Two of those states thought they needed a trained cadre of Sky Warn weather spotters and a Sky Warn program like Michigan.

The state between them felt that Sky Warn was a waste of time

A bunch of people died.. All in that one state without Sky Warn.

So, I'm surprised, given the state of the art (Which involves hundreds of folks in the field watching for the storms and reporting on them) when folks get killed.  This many dead means, I am fairly sure, that there is no Sky Warn program in Florida.

And if that is the case. Politicians are guilty of murder.

This may sound harsh, but it's Murder non the less, Negligent homicide.

(I got my first sky warn training back in the 1970's  After the last of the really bad killer tornados in Michigan.  We have had worse storms, since, much worse, but not nearly as many killed or injured,  All due to Sky Warn.)

One thing you can do to protect yourself.. And this is but one example

Weather Alert Radio

News is saying there are no sirens in Florida, No way to warn the people unless you have a radio like the one above, or are listening to broadcast radio.  And it is "Tornado season" in Florida per the same news. (ABC news)

Again, I say the politicians MURDERED those people by neglecting to install a warning system and to support Sky Warn!
 

ArdraF

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Check out the other new thread "Weather Alert Radio".

ArdraF
 

BruceinFL

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We have more tornadoes here in central FL than we had in Alabama yet the so-called backwards state of Alabama had a siren warning system and Florida doesn't. We're too advanced for that...we have a warning system that comes on the TV. So, if you watch TV 24 hours a day, you're covered. Too bad all those people here didn't have their TVs on at 3:30 am today.  :(

Also, Florida has always had plenty of tornadoes but they rarely did damage or caused injuries because where they usually strike (inland in the center of the state) was all farms, ranches and orange groves. That's not the case anymore. Development has taken over those areas...The Villages, Lake County, the Deland area for example. Unfortunately, I think we'll be seeing more damage and injury in the future. The FL population is forecast to double by 2040 and pretty soon there won't be much undeveloped land left.  :'(
 

KodiakRV

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Florida
John In Detroit said:
In this age I am usually amazed when we have "Killer Tornados"  [snip]
THe job of us weather spotters is first to watch for the evidence of a forming tornado, report on rotation in the clouds that tornados spring from, report the formation of the funnel cloud and report on touch down (The difference between a funnel cloud and a Tornado is touch down)  Then to track the path of the storm (From a safe distance)  [snip]

No offense, but I'm thinking there's not too many of you out there at 3am on a February night...
 
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oldcurios

Guest
Thanks for your replies.

We have a NOAA weather alert radio.  (We currently live in Alabama, have the siren system,  and do have tornado spotters here too.)

We are new to RVing and plan to do a lot this spring and summer which is the time we get great storms.  So my question is more about what is the correct action to take AFTER you get the alert . 

Wendy, thanks for your post.  I did not know campgrounds could have shelters.  That is good to know and also to know to ask about them when you make reservations.

Do State/ Corps of Engineers/ etc campgrounds have shelters too?

What if you are camping in the boonies and get a severe weather alert.  Just you, the camper, the dogs, and the woods.  What is the right thing to do if there is no time to get the heck out of Dodge?  Get out and find a ditch or hollow?  Take the dogs with you or lock them in their crates? 

If you are driving, how can you identify a "safe place" to get to quickly?

TIA,

Chuck and Ayn
 

Wendy

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Good questions.

Campground shelters - Sometimes it's just the restroom or office. At one Colorado campground it was the swimming pool building. Most people who live in tornado areas have a place they go to when the sirens scream and a campground should be no different. We've stayed at a number of COE campgrounds in Kansas and they all had nice, sturdy brick restroom buildings. That would be the place to go.

Boonies - Two years ago, we were traveling across Kansas with the weather station on. As we'd leave a county and enter a new one, the tornado warnings would move to the new county. When we stopped for the night, at a county park out in the boonies, the tornade warnings had stopped but we still looked around for a low place to run to if we needed to. Had the weather not improved, we probably would have stayed somewhere that had a shelter within running distance.

Dogs - They say that the safest place for animals is in their crate. But if I was running from a storm, I'd put the dog's leash on and take him with me. I wouldn't leave a child behind and that's what my hairy beast is. If the pet is small enough to put in their crate and take that way, that's what I'd do.

Driving - A sturdy building is better than being outside. So if you're somewhere that's under a tornado warning, find a place to stop, don't keep driving. If you're not near a building, keep an eye on the sky and be prepared to take action. Ditches are ok if it's not raining (you can drown very easily in a flooded ditch). Look for the lowest place you can find.

Always, always know what county you're in. A few years ago, we were at a campground just south of Cincinnati, in Kentucky. We were watching news off the antenna, had no idea what county we were in, and they kept listing tornado warnings on the screen. Turns out we were in one of the counties they were listing and a major tornado ripped through Cincinnati that night. Had the sirens gone off, we'd have had no idea where we were or where to go.

This is a good website for info: http://www.tornadoproject.com/safety/safety.htm

My best advice is to stay out of tornado-prone areas during tornado season which, of course, isn't always possible.

Wendy
Cortez Colorado
 

ArdraF

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Always, always know what county you're in

Wendy is absolutely correct.  Most of us carry the Trailer Life Campground Directory.  If you look in it at a town's name you will see next to it the name of the county that town is within.  When we're in a worrisome area, I first check that, then get out my PAPER state map (yes, paper maps still have a valid use!) and find out the names of the surrounding counties.  That allows me to be more aware if, for example, a tornado is approaching our county.  The NOAA alerts and TV generally mention county names.  It's also helpful to look at the names of surrounding communities.  In this case, familiarity is a plus!  :)

ArdraF
 

Jim Godward

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Hillsboro, Oregon
I'm surprised that John did not mention the use of a scanner or Amateur radio to listen for information once the weather forcast is for severe storms.  Most of the weather watchers he mentions are amatuer radio operators and usually use the 2 meter, 144.00m to 148.00 Mhz, band for communicating storm information. 

I have used this in several states while traveling and severe storms were forcast on AM radio or the TV.  In the case of a trip to Ohio, we were able to move out of the way and go to my daughter's home for shelter leaving the RV at risk.  BG
 

Grumpy

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Urbana, IL
oldcurios said:
:eek:


So I'm asking all you good folks - What do you do when you are in your RV and there are severe weather/tornado warnings? 

Radio Shack makes a CB radio that will scan weather channels.  As long as the red light is on, you get the national weather.  When the light blinks, the radio is looking for a station.  Uniden makes a CB radio that will scan, however, you have to tune the radio to the correct channel if you get an alert tone.  Both have alert features.  I have the Uniden in my pick-up.  I also have a portable weather alert radio in the trailer that has battery back-up/charger.  It too, will scan automatically.  No matter where I am, if the signal can get to the radio, I'm in tune. 

Before we leave on a trip. I look at the map and highlight the countys in yellow that we will be traveling thru.  This was something my Dad did.  One time the alert went off while we were going thru Tennessee, and my wife looked at the map, and seen that we were going to head right into the storm, so we stopped at the next exit to wait things out. 

Very interesting topic...
 
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