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kellyds

Tornadoes/Hurricanes

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Does anyone know the proper procedure to button up a class A motorhome in the event of a Tornado or Hurricane in the immediate area?

Kellyds

USN Retired Chief 22 Yrs

Spring Hill, Fl

dkelly80@yahoo.com

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I'll get this discussion started.

I see hurricane prep as VERY different from tornado prep.

Hurricane prep includes not just "OOOH HECK, HERE COMES THE REALLY STORING WIND" but also "I might be without power for a LONG time, food may be in short supply, etc.

So, if there is even the slightest chance of a hurricane approaching your area:

1. Fill fuel and propane tank.

2. Make sure all routine preventive maintenance is done in case you need to evacuate. Sure hate for a clogged fuel filter to put you on the side of the road on the way away from a hurricane, Blow out because you didn't check tire pressure, etc!

3. Sanitize potable water tank and fill.

4. Refrigerator: make sure you have done the "annual burner area tune-up" within the last year and that it operates well on propane. Turn on the refrigerator.

5. Stock the pantry and refrigerator.

If threat of very high winds is imminent, put in all slides and awnings, secure any loose objects including water and sewer hoses and especially SHORE POWER CORD. Wind storms are often accompanied by electrical storms. You are VERY unlikely to suffer a direct lightening strike (and there is little you can do to change your chances of a direct hit), BUT a nearby lightening strike can easily travel along electrical lines (including ground wire). Unplugging, not just turning off the CG breaker keeps any surges from your coach. And your surge protector is of limited value in containing a nearby lightening strike.

If you know the direction of the upcoming strong wind, park your back end toward it-- less surface area to be pushed around and less glass. Move out from under any tree that could fall on the coach.

Lots of debate on whether to leave jacks down or not, and much of that depends on where your jacks are located on the chassis. If the location of the jacks is in front of the front axle and behind the rear axle and well spread side to side, I tend to put the jacks down (on the ground).

Brett

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Hi kellyds,

There is no help for a tornado.

For a hurricane, everything in Brett's post is good to do. If the coach is to ride out the storm, you really need to know where the center of the storm will go in relation to the coach. Hurricanes turn counter clockwise. If the center will travel over the coach, it matters not which direction the coach is parked. It will be hit with the strongest winds from both directions. If the coach will be on one side of the storm center, you can then follow Brett's instructions. If you have a 4 jack leveling system, my recommendation is that the jacks be put on the ground.

The following applies only to south Florida. Living in other Hurricane prone areas will require one to understand how storms act in your area. After being in south Florida for 20+ years, my recommendation is to leave town well before the roads clogged with cars. When I was in South Florida during Hurricane season, there was a procedure we followed based on a storm's projected path. It was like NASA launch criteria. Once the criteria was met, it took a day to get ready and we left town. This meant we left town 5 days before the storm was projected to strike. Consider making a similar plan. Our coach(s) have never had to ride out a storm. We consider the coach our lifeboat.

The questions now becomes where does one go? Atlantic hurricanes go straight or turn right. Depending on the projected path, I always go to the south or west of the projected path. Caribbean hurricanes are a bit trickier. They will wobble or continue straight. For these storms I will always go south. Living in south Florida, this means I will evacuate toward Key West if the storm is to come to West Palm Beach (home base). With either an Atlantic or Caribbean Hurricane, if I evacuate north, the storm will chase me, for several days.

With a hurricane, one does not need to evacuate very far. Usually 100-150 miles will do nicely. There are always exceptions. I try to evacuate only far enough to where I feel I can fill my fuel tank and the fuel cans I have brought with me.

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Guest BillAdams

The only prep for either of these situations is to drive away or get the heck out!

You do NOT want to be in your RV in either of these situations. If you are in tornado country you will want to find out where the shelter is as soon as you check in. If there's a warning, get out....get out now! Tornado's LOVE trailer parks (as reported on TV anyway).

If you are going through a hurricane you need to be prepared to evacuate. Either you go and leave the RV behind or turn the engine over and drive away (my personal recommendation). If you are planning to leave then you also need to have the RV stocked up as you may be staying at Wal-Mart until the threat passes or you may be moving again if the hurricane takes an unexpected turn.

We lived in FL for a couple of years and we were evacuated for the one that never came and we were told it was no big deal when it took direct aim at us. You can't trust the forecasters since the severe weather is still mostly a guessing game. Make yourself safe FIRST and worry about the small stuff second.

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In the event of severe weather (tornadoes, severe thunderstorms) you should do as Brett said in preparing your coach IF you have time. In all cases, you should seek shelter in a permanent designated storm shelter. Most parks in severe weather country will have designated shelters. I've checked in at some parks during severe storm season and had them take us to the shelter to make sure we knew where to go. And, sure enough, we spent about an hour there hoping we would see our motor home again when we returned. In the case of a tornado, you hope to escape with your life. If you are lucky, the tornado will miss you and if your neighbors are lucky, the tornado won't develop. For tornado safety, make it a point to know what county you are located in as tornado watches and warnings are often given by county designations. Again, campgrounds in tornado prone areas may have this information printed on your campground map and rules publication.

For a hurricane, I would get rolling at the first possible opportunity. You can do all the prep Brett suggests if you have plenty of warning but I wouldn't delay my departure. If you live in hurricane country, keep your coach travel ready. Besides, hurricane season is the travel season. If you are ready for summer adventures, you're ready to be a hurricane refugee. You don't want to get everything set and then find yourself stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. Many areas subject to hurricanes have limited evacuation routes and fuel and roads can become overstressed in short order. Get some miles behind you, get away from the expected area of landfall and then stop to get any maintenance work done. A motor home is the ideal way to deal with a hurricane, no hunting for motels or driving to the relatives to seek shelter. You can get along anywhere out of the storms path. By the way, we sat out Katrina in Maine. It was one really rainy day followed by a day exploring some of Maine's best waterfalls in full "bloom." I commented to Louise that we should make it a point to follow hurricanes around to see all the streams in full flow! Well, it was interesting from 1000 miles from landfall!

Be aware that the landfall is the big news story but the storms that come inland from a hurricane can spawn tornadoes, heavy rain and hail and of course flooding. I'd prefer to be out of the path of the storm if at all possible. The further the better.

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Guest Wayne77590

I have great respect for the unknown, like tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. If I see a spout I try to determine if it is moving. Now you may think that a funny question, but if you can't see it moving, you better hope it is getting smaller instead of larger. If it is getting larger, it is moving towards you. If you see it moving left or right, the it is moving in a different direction then where you are, but it is unpredictable.

As for hurricanes, I live on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The nice things about hurricanes is that you know when there is one and you can start making preparations. For me, preparations are to get the MH out of storage, and then to put up the shutters on the stick house. Pack the MH, and be prepared to leave at least 72 hours before the hurricane is predicted to hit. For Rita, I did not leave 72 hours, but maybe 62-65 hours, and we went 150 miles in 15-1/2 hours. That is because of traffic. For Ike, I left in the 72 hour frame, and we had no problems on the Interstates or side roads. It makes a big, big difference on when you evacuate. If you wait for the mandatory evacuation you will be in a traffic jam and you will be in the contra-flow lane, around here.

Ya'll keep your tornadoes. I'll stick with the warning of a hurricane and let the stick house take it's chances by itself. Me and the MH are headed North West.

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