If you’re heading to a campground with cabins, planning the trip a month or two in advance may help you prepare for the meals and sleeping arrangements, however predicting the weather is a bit more difficult. Severe weather events such as flash flooding and tornadoes are impossible to predict long range, but having a game plan isn’t. Here are a few strategies for weathering the weather.
Be Aware of the Weather
A little research can go a long way to preventing a weather related tragedy. Using the internet, listening to local radio channels, and watching televised weather reports for the area you are camping in will give the best advance notice. The time of year will dictate the types of storms that are possible. Forecasters don’t always get it right, so keep an eye to the sky for quickly changing weather.
Though it may be easy to brave the elements from inside your cabin rental, thunderstorms are dangerous events if you are caught away from your shelter. Watch for darkening skies, thunderheads, lightning and increased wind. When a thunderstorm strikes, seek immediate shelter in a low area. Standing under a tree is not advisable, as lightning strikes tall objects. If you are fishing, cease immediately, lower or drop your rod, and get away from the water.
Thunderstorms often produce hail, particles of ice that form when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops to high altitudes, where the water freezes and then falls back to Earth. Hailstones as large as baseballs have been recorded. Hail falls at an alarming rate, and a blow to the head can be extremely dangerous. Stay sheltered if possible. If shelter is not immediately available, cover your head and seek a cover of trees that will break the fall of the hail.
Flash floods can form in seconds, and are very dangerous. Move to high ground at the first sign of a flood. Be aware of gullies, washes, and streams which can quickly become fast moving bodies of water. Water as shallow as six inches can sweep a person off their feet.
Tornadoes are impressive and perilous. They are very mobile, and may produce winds of up to 300 miles per hour. Flying branches or rubbish and collapsing buildings are the primary threat, as tornadoes may create airborne debris as large as a car. In the case of a tornado warning, The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) recommends the following: Get Indoors. Get below ground: a storm shelter or basement. If no basement, find a small interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Do not stand near tall trees or metal objects. If boating or swimming, head for shore. Avoid high elevations. If caught in the open, crouch down until there is a break in the storm. Leave cars, they will go airborne in strong tornadoes. If caught in the open, hit the dirt! Find a ditch or culvert and protect your head and torso.
There are many ways that severe weather may impact your camping adventure. The weather may turn unpleasant very quickly, but it doesn’t have to ruin your whole trip. Just a little common sense and forethought can be the difference between a great story about that weekend getaway, and a tragedy. Be prepared!
Heading out in an RV this time? Read our blog on weather safety in your RV.
Planning your own cabin camping trip? Get our FREE printable Cabin Camping Trip Packing Checklist.