Tracking Bad Weather
If you watch the news at all, you know that although predicting the weather has improved over the last few years, it can still be an inexact science. Whenever storm systems crop up that could produce dangerous weather situations, it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the exact area where they will occur. Most forecasters can only give a general area where the conditions are ripe for events such as tornadoes or hurricanes.
No matter how carefully you plan your trip, bad weather can seemingly pop up without warning. It is up to you to stay alert and informed to help prevent injury if bad weather occurs.
Keep Your Eye on the Sky
Be observant as you are driving. If the skies ahead are dark with ominous clouds looming in the middle of the day, you can be almost certain that you will be driving toward bad weather. How bad or dangerous a storm you are looking at is much harder to determine, unless you have accurate weather information.
One of the most valuable devices you can buy for your RV travels is a NOAA Weather Radio receiver. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations that continuously broadcasts current weather information directly from a local National Weather Service office. The network broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day. To receive NWR, you need to have a special radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal. You can find these at electronics stores, at many RV and camping equipment stores, or through mail-order catalogs or the Internet.
Many of the NOAA Weather radios come equipped with a feature that allows you to leave the radio in “standby” mode until an alert is issued by the National Weather Service. When that happens, an alarm sounds, followed by an audio message that gives the details of the alert.
NWR also broadcasts warning and postevent information for all types of hazards. These include natural disasters (such as earthquakes and volcano activity) and manmade crises (such as chemical releases or oil spills).
Be alert for reports of heavy rains and flooding. Do not drive into areas that are under any amount of water. Many dry areas in the Southwest States are subject to flooding during certain times of the year. If heavy rains occur while you are on the road, pull over when it is safe and wait out the rain.
Driving in high winds can also be dangerous in a high-profile vehicle like an RV. Slow down and stay alert. If winds and crosswinds start pushing your rig around, it is time to pull over and wait it out.
Snow and ice are also very difficult for RVs to traverse safely. Drive cautiously or just pull over and wait it out during more severe conditions.