How to Stay Safe When Bad Weather Happens

 Bad weather safety tips while camping

Lightening bolt over the Gulf of Mexico at night from the pier

We all hope for sunny skies and warm temperatures when we go camping but sometimes that just doesn't happen. Listening to the rain hit the roof of your camper can be very relaxing but what do you do when the light rain turns into severe weather? Here are some bad weather safety tips.

Be prepared

The best way to stay safe is to be prepared. To eliminate the surprise of bad weather check the forecast for the area you are going before you leave. Make a plan for what you will do if the weather gets bad. A weather radio is a must if the forecast predicts any storms. If you don't have cell service on your phone in the campground you are going to camp in the radio will alert you of thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes. Choose a weather radio with several charging options in case you don't have power.


Change in temperatures

If you are camping in an RV or camper you expect to be comfortable in your air conditioning or heat right? There is no need to prepare for a change in temperature correct? So, you go to sleep and the temperature drops suddenly. You turn on the heat and nothing happens at 2am and you only brought shorts and t shirts. That is going to be a long night.

When the weather is warm pack light clothes, sheets and blankets.

If it is supposed to be cold lots of layers, warm socks and extra sleeping bags will help you stay warm if the heater stops working.


If you see lightning be prepared to take cover.  Use the 30 second rule. When you see a flash of lightning and then hear thunder within 30 seconds seek shelter and then wait 30 minutes before going back outside. If you are stuck without shelter do not be the tallest object around or even next to it. Standing beside a tall tree is not a good idea since lightning is attracted to higher object.

Flash foods

Flash floods happen anywhere and can come on quickly so be prepared even before you set up. If there is a chance of rain when you set up do not park near water, canyon or low spots. Have an exit plan. if the weather gets bad decide in advance when you will leave and what is the easiest and fastest way out. Water can rise fast. If you get stuck in the middle of a flash flood don't try to drive out. Go to the highest ground and wait until it is safe to come back.


When you check into the campground ask if there is a tornado shelter. If not, the safest places to be will be a shower or bathroom stall or laundry room. If a tornado watch is issued get ready and know exactly where you will go. Secure anything outside, roll up your awning and take down any shade tents or gazebos. If a warning is issued go immediately to shelter grabbing only the essentials.

Signs of a possible tornado:

  • electrical charge in the air- the hair on your arms stand up
  • large hail
  • severe lightning
  • roaring noise
  • grayish/greenish clouds
  • clouds appear to be dropping to the ground, increasing funnel shaped
  • rotating dust or debris coming up from the ground

The chance of dangerous weather while you are camping are pretty low but being prepared can make you feel much better if the unexpected happens.

While we are talking about safety- you should probably brush up on your Wildlife Safety as well.