When Hurricanes Hit the Headlines, Your RV Hits the Road

Natural disasters and RVs don’t play nice together.

Hurricanes give fair warning

Unlike RVing in natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and flash floods, hurricanes give plenty of advance notice before making landfall. Theoretically you should have enough time to minimize the impacts of Hurricane Beryl on RVers like you. These steps include:

  • Fill your fuel tank
  • Empty black tanks and gray water tanks
  • Fill your fresh water tank
  • Stock up on food for you and your RVing pets
  • Charge your electronics batteries
  • Verify your phone is set up to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts
Rockport, Texas following Hurricane Harvey (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Headline, July 2, 2024: ‘Potentially catastrophic’ Hurricane Beryl moves towards Jamaica

Headline, July 3, 2024: Texas included in Hurricane Beryl’s forecast cone as monstrous storm charges through Caribbean

Headline, July 4, 2024: Eye of Hurricane Beryl slams Jamaica

Headline, July 5, 2024: Hurricane Beryl makes landfall on Yucatan Peninsula as Category 2 storm, now targets Texas

Headline, July 6, 2024: Beryl Expected To Strengthen Into A Hurricane, Eyeing Texas Landfall On Monday

Headline, July 7, 2024: Texas Braces for Beryl, With Over a Million Under a Hurricane Warning

Are you or a loved one included in the vast number affected by this storm? If you aren’t, don’t feel left out. Maybe it won’t be a hurricane but what about a wildfire rushing toward your home or an earthquake disrupts utility services?

Goose Island State Park in Texas following Hurricane Harvey (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s not if but when

It’s really not a matter of if some emergency will force you to evacuate. It’ll be more likely a matter of when. For RVers, having the old reliable rig ready and available to roll down the driveway at a moment’s notice can make a huge difference in comfort and possibly in life safety.

How ready is your RV to take on the assignment? Just what does it take to have your RV queued up as your bug out vehicle?

Whether you have a motorhome or a towable rig there are common critical essentials that you can keep at hand, year-round. Keep the fuel tank on the coach or the tow vehicle full. The more time that elapses from the notification of a pending disaster, the greater the chance that your local stations could simply run out of fuel. Having enough fuel in the tank to get at least a hundred miles or more away from your area could make a huge difference.

And keep the propane tanks filled up, too.

Getting your RV prepared for hurricanes or other natural disasters

At the same time, keeping the holding tanks empty (or close to it) when the rig is parked is one less thing to worry about. Having a few cases of bottled drinking water is a good safeguard.

Rockport, Texas following Hurricane Harvey (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be ready for evacuation

What about the when and where of an evacuation? The when is simple: The sooner, the better! When evacuation orders from a pending weather issue come out, getting out of Dodge is a lot easier right away.

Imagine getting stuck in a freeway parking lot scenario where traffic is bumper-to-bumper and moving along at a snail’s pace or worse. Not only will your nerves be victimized but the toll on your fuel tanks will also be tremendous. The sooner you can get out of the disaster area, the better off you’ll be.

As to the where, local authorities will probably try to help with evacuation routes. Don’t be too complacent. Familiarize yourself with the kinds of dangers that can be expected and then make a plan with alternatives as to where to head to escape the danger.

Leaving as soon as you can will make it easier to find an RV park or campground with an available site. But what if you can’t find a place with electrical hookups? For many, our RVs are truly self-contained and with enough water and LP, we’re set for pavement camping.

But, how long can you hang out without an electrical hookup? Any way you slice it, residential refrigerators chew up a lot of power. You can’t always depend on Old Sol to be bright and shiny where you evacuate to; hence, if depending on a residential refrigerator better have a generator and plenty of fuel.

Goose Island State Park in Texas following Hurricane Harvey (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


Finally, a note on your emotions. One scientific study showed that people displaced from their homes due to emergencies were much more likely to face issues of depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. While the study didn’t go into the cause factors, the link was surely there. It seems logical enough that people who are chased out of their homes would indeed be stressed.

Having the fallback position of a familiar place like your RV will go a long way to reducing these problems. So keep your RV ready to roll and your chin up.

And, most importantly, stay safe.

Here are some helpful resources:

Stay safe out there! Remember, run from the water and hide from the wind.

Worth Pondering…

In reality, you don’t ever change the hurricane. You just learn how to stay out of its path.     

—Jodi Picoult