Hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends on September 30th. If you live anywhere on the Atlantic or Gulf Coast, you are probably very familiar with these dates. And if you are familiar with hurricanes, you know they can pop up with very little advanced warning. Sure, we get the “spaghetti” models from meteorologists that show potential tracks of severe storms. Hurricanes have the tendency to go pretty much wherever they want. Take Hurricane Harvey for example. Some models showed Harvey making landfall around Corpus Christie while others showed it making landfall a little further to the north. Add that with the “cone of uncertainty” and you can see why you only have a short period of time to take action. But how do you prepare your RV for evacuation should the need arise? What steps do you take to ensure the safety of your family and loved ones?
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The number one, absolute best thing you can to is to plan ahead. If the need arises for you to evacuate, and you will using your RV for evacuation, planning ahead and being prepared is essential. Have a plan in place as to where you will be going, plan your evacuation route ahead of time. When folks start to evacuate, knowing where you are going will help alleviate some of the stresses you will face.
Prepare Your RV For Evacuation
As we get further into hurricane season, and as the storms begin to form in the Atlantic, make sure you have your necessities ready to go on short notice. Keep a list of important phone numbers and other important documents in an easy to carry fireproof and waterproof bag. If you have pets, it’s also a good idea to keep any of their records in there as well. Make sure you have all medications you need as well as medications for your pets. Carry some extra cash with you also. When the power starts to go out, ATM’s and credit card readers may not work.
Keep plenty of bottled water on hand that you can throw in the storage compartment of your RV or the back of your tow vehicle. Store things like canned food and travel sized toiletries in your RV. Did you know, the number one item that is most overlooked is a can opener?
Be sure to do your RV Holding Tank Maintenance in advance.
When the order is given for a mandatory evacuation, you want to be ready to go quickly. Traffic will begin to build up fast and you want to try to get ahead of as much of it as you can.
Be Flexible When Using Your RV For Evacuation
If your planned destination doesn’t have available RV sites, you might need to change course. Be flexible enough to detour to another destination. You may find yourself boondocking for a day or two while the storm passes. Not all of us are equipped with solar power on our RVs, so when the time arises for you to use your RV for evacuation, you might need a generator. Not only for evacuation purposes, but on your return home. Keep in mind that when the “Mandatory Evacuation Order” is given, you will not be able to return home until the county judge lifts the order, unless you are an essential worker.
Expect Delays On Your Return
The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey completely decimated the Texas Gulf Coast. We had major flooding unlike most have ever seen. Those that were able to get back home found that their homes had been completely destroyed by flood waters. Not just an inch or two, some had water levels rise to 10 feet or more. The impact was heartbreaking. For months after, people were completely gutting the insides of their homes to repair the damage. Streets were lined with sheetrock, cabinets, and furniture that was destroyed. The majority of the flooding victims lived in RVs on their property until the repairs were made, which took years. In total, Hurricane Harvey dropped over 60″ of rain in a span of a few days. The water had no place to go. Keep in mind, never drive through standing water. You never know if the road has been washed out.
Consider Investing In A Generator
Kellie and I were very fortunate during Hurricane Harvey and the Great Texas Freeze of 2021. For Harvey, our home didn’t flood. We were one of the few. We were lucky during the freeze as well because we have a portable generator. The power was out for four days in temperatures below 30 degrees. The generator allowed us to run a window unit with heat and a few lights. There was a styrofoam cup of tea in the kitchen that froze solid.
The generator literally kept of from freezing that week. It is a very spooky feeling when the power is out for a few days. I remember going outside to refuel the generator at 1 or 2 in the morning. The neighborhood was completely dark. No street lights, no traffic signals, not even a stray porch light. The generator we have is a little overkill for an RV and there are other, more lightweight options available.
Conclusion On Preparing Your RV For Evacuation
When it comes down to it, being prepared and having a plan is vital. Be flexible enough to change course if needed. If you find yourself stuck in a storm, make sure you have a weather radio to keep up with forecasts. Just remember, RV parks and campgrounds may not be able to accommodate you on short notice. With a little bit of planning, evacuating the next big storm should be a little less hectic. Be prepared for your return home as well. Flooding and power outages can last for weeks or even months.
To keep up with the current hurricane forecasts, check out The National Hurricane Center. They have up-to-date information on any weather patterns forming.
If you find yourself in need of assistance after a major storm, contact your local United Way. We are proud supporters as we have witnessed first hand how they helped our community after Hurricane Harvey.
On A Lighter Note:
If you have any suggestions that I might have missed, please leave a comment below and share your tips.