Making Way for Mother Nature
A substantial number of RVers live in areas subject to environmental and weather disasters. Disruptive events come in
many flavors. Some, such as hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, and snowstorms, arrive after advance warning, while
others, such as tornadoes, flash floods, and earthquakes, arrive with little to no notice.

RVers and others who live near the coast from Texas to New England still face the hurricane season that runs through mid-
November. In less than five weeks, the southeast faced Tropical Storm Fay that inundated large areas of Florida with up to
30” of rain, Hurricane Gustav that threatened Louisiana, Hurricane Hanna in the Carolinas, and Hurricane Ike which caused
horrific damage and loss of life in Texas and western Louisiana.

America’s eight-million-plus RVers are fortunate in that they may be able to “get outta town” with a roof over their heads
quickly in advance of a storm or other disruptive environmental event that can be blamed on Mother Nature. Even if your area
does not suffer physical damage, you may still need to evacuate because of air quality or utility outages.

Planning Ahead – RVers concerned about serious weather and environmental events that can cause property damage,
injury, or worse should take steps to be prepared. It is important to be aware that severe flooding or wildfires could keep you
out of your home for weeks, or even months.

Make a list of personal records and information to take with you in the RV for disaster situations that may cause severe or
major damage to your home or community. Important papers include driver licenses, passports, social security cards, and
appropriate immigration documents. Finally, don’t forget check books, debit/ATM cards, credit cards, billing information and
addresses, envelopes and postage, and savings and investment account statements and contacts.

We strongly recommend that all RVers with laptop computers make use of the free electronic banking over the Internet
available from most banks and credit unions and also establish automatic deposit of incoming checks into their accounts.

Don’t forget to bring home and personal insurance policy coverage documents and contact information, along with recent
pictures of the exterior and interior of your home.

It is also important to have your medical and Rx insurance cards and contact information for all medical providers,
prescription medications and unfilled prescription forms, and all pet license tags and inoculation records.

Make sure that your home and contents have the proper amount and type of insurance coverage for your area, including
flood or earth quake insurance.  Consider using a safety deposit box for valuables and important papers you have to leave
behind. In addition, every home and RV should have a working NOAA weather radio.

Keep your RV service up to date and ready for use in case of the need to evacuate or to use it in case of loss of utilities. This
means having the fuel, propane, and water tanks full, the holding tanks empty, and all fluid levels and at the correct level. It
is also important to have the correct tire pressure in all RV tires, as well as the tires on the toad or tow vehicle.

Know Where to Find Safety – We strongly recommend that you select an evacuation destination, lay out a trip itinerary, and
make reservations at the appropriate RV resort or campground before you leave.

Look for campgrounds and RV resorts that have cable TV so you can view the Weather Channel and get the news stations
in the event you cannot get an on-the-air TV or satellite TV antenna signal. Traveling with portable GPS units, NOAA weather
radios, and mobile wireless phones (and chargers) will help keep you advised as to what is happening.

Helpful Aids – An Internet-ready laptop computer lets you keep current with your financial and investment activities at
home will work very well on the road and in the RV to keep up with electronic banking and bill pay services, investment
account services, and E-mail to keep in touch with your family, friends, and work.  

Using debit/ATM cards allows you to avoid carrying large amounts of cash. We recommend setting up automatic deposit of
incoming checks. Some banks, such as USAA Federal Savings Bank, allow you to deposit checks via Internet with a
computer, scanner, and Internet connection.

Products that can help RVers before, during, and after disasters include NOAA weather radios, lots of flashlights and
batteries, current campground directories and road atlases, maps, mobile wireless phones with access to the Internet and
weather information, laptop computers with mapping, trip planning and topographical software, satellite TV service in the
RV, and satellite radio service. A portable GPS unit can also be very helpful when traveling through unfamiliar areas.    

Weather Information - Anyone with access to the Internet with a laptop computer or mobile wireless device can keep up
with  weather and environmental situations, including wild fires, hurricanes, flash floods, and lots more at the information-
packed NOAA National Weather Service website. In addition, many wireless mobile phone carriers can provide access to
current weather information.

You can also keep up with the weather anywhere in the country by accessing the Weather Channel website. RVers with
laptop computers will find that an Internet connection and Google Earth software will allow you to display the hurricane and
tropical storm cloud and radar images with a link to the NOAA site for the latest storm and tracking information. The radar
images and cloud images that show storm clouds and wildfire smoke are updated every seven minutes.

Evacuation preparedness activities should be completed before the need to evacuate arises.  RVers planning on
evacuating in an RV may have to do so quickly and on short notice. Wild fires can move very quickly and hurricanes can
change direction with little warning.

Do not try to outwit Mother Nature!!! - The disastrous Oakland wild fire in 1987 was thought to be coming under
control in the hills west of Oakland and then roared through 1800 homes in less than 24 hours. Hurricane Katrina was
supposed to hit Mississippi in 2005, not New Orleans.

In 2004, Category 4 Hurricane Charlie was supposed to come on shore in Tampa Bay, not 100 miles south in Punta Gorda.
And more than 1800 homes in Plaquemines Parish were flooded by Hurricane Ike when a county levee system
unexpectedly failed.  

When Do You Evacuate? - While we are provided advance warning of hurricanes, and sometimes warnings of flood
conditions, evacuating easily means leaving well before the hurricane or flood hits your area.

In congested areas, plan on leaving at least 2-3 days before storms or flooding are projected to arrive. Leaving early allows
you to travel on relatively uncongested roads and may result in taking a two or three day trip that was unnecessary because
the storm track or flood areas shifted. Leaving too late may could have you and your family on the road in the middle of an
environmental disaster with no available shelter.

In closing, we remind you to carry sufficient cash to cover expenses (gas, food, accommodations, etc.) for at least several
days (in the event you can’t find working ATMs), ensure you have an adequate supply of prescription medications, and keep
a current campground directory in your house and RV to find accommodations.

It is also important to maintain the correct air pressure in the RV and toad tires, make sure that the flashlights, batteries,
tools, and protective weather apparel are in the RV, and to keep NOAA weather radio(s) powered on for use in both home
and RV to warn of dangerous conditions.

Don’t forget your cell phone and charger, and make sure you bring verification of home and personal effects insurance
policies, medical contact information, and prescriptions. And, finally, tell family, friends, and coworkers where you are going
and how you can be reached, and
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!!!
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All original content Copyright © 2009 by Alan and Barbara Lidstone. All Rights Reserved.
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Making Way for Mother Nature
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