Years ago, before the days of cell phones, I was tent camping at Garner State Park in Texas with friends and had no way of knowing danger was ahead.
Lightning, strong winds and heavy rain were our only notice in the middle of the night. Concerned of flash flooding from the Frio River, we bit the bullet, grabbed what we could and drove to higher ground.
Others weren’t so fortunate. We lost a tent, blankets and lawn chairs. Some lost their lives.
Even today, because of that experience, I stay alert of weather conditions.
The Three A’s of Campground Weather Safety
Check the forecast before you travel or set up camp. Once you are in camping mode or vacation mind, you are planning for fun! But weather can change that quickly so know what the weather is going to be like over the next couple days so you can make good decisions about your activities and destinations. Use a reliable weather information website like NOAA or the National Weather Service.
If you are in an area that has cell service, then a weather app with emergency weather notification is a great thing to have set up. They have a free and paid version. The app will send you a notification when there are watches and warnings for the area you are in. Be sure to have your app set up to notify you even if your other notifications are off and also have your location setting turned on.
Have your weather radios set up to alert you when there is a threat. There are different kinds of weather radio options. We have one we can crank if all the other options (solar, batteries, electrical outlet plugin) fail or are unavailable.
Having a radio that doubles as a walkie-talkie can be a good choice to make the most of small space storage.
Have a weather contingency plan. What will you do if the weather suddenly changes and you are in danger? Everyone on your trip should have a job to do and know how to do it in case of an emergency evacuation.
In case of an emergency, how will you make contact with help? What is cell service is lost? Using emergency radios can make the difference in campground weather safety.
Have a plan on what to do if there is threatening weather that may put you in danger.
Know where you are – use a GPS to help identify your location in case you need it.
Know your evacuation plan: If you need to evacuate where are you going? Are you going to stick it out?
Use your weather radios to keep abreast of changes in weather in your area.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. “It may be too late the second time,” Texas Park & Wildlife Department officials said. “The first time we can get them out by land, the second time it will be by boat if we can get to them at all.”
🔼Don’t attempt to drive through flooded roads, even if the water looks shallow. “If you can’t see the road, don’t try it,” the Texas Park and Wildlife official said. “It’ll be a deadly mistake.”
🔼Watch out for downed power lines and do not go near them, even around residences.
🔼If you get a weather notification for an approaching storm of any kind, start to clean up your campsite and put things away that could potentially become airborne in a wind gust situation. Your RV windows, motorcycles and your camping neighbors will love you for it.
A few things to remember:
Have flashlights ready in case of power outage and you don’t have RV house batteries.
Have a weather radio and/or weather app set to alert you when there is a weather event
Have activity appropriate apparel and shoes for your outings in case of unexpected weather. Dress in layers to avoid discomfort in changes of temperatures.
Keep a positive attitude! You can’t control the weather but you can wait out bad weather by planning to have games and activities to do when bad weather strikes.
If your plans have to change because of weather, be sure to have some alternate activities planned. A stash of games and cards can turn a disappointment into another kind of fun!
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.