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themoons

Salt Lake City

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Posted: 01/03/20 11:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are contemplating a trip through Tornado Alley in April during our kids' spring break. It would be the first half of April and we'd be traveling from Utah through Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, etc.

I have obviously heard about tornado season, but never experienced it and don't know if this is something we should be worried about. Are we crazy? Will it be OK? Is that early enough in the season to not be concerned?

I'd love any insight anyone has.

Scottiemom

South Dakota/Indiana

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Posted: 01/04/20 04:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tornados can strike quickly and be deadly or not. We lived in Indiana most of our life and experienced more than we wanted. They are totally unpredictable. But we didn't live in fear that they might occur. . . just have a plan in the event they popped up.

Many parks and towns along the usual routes will have tornado shelters. Be familiar with them. When you check in, ask where the tornado shelter is. If they don't have one, move on or at least explore and see if there is anything available in the town.

In one park in Tye, Texas, it is a school bus buried in a hill, with only the back half visible. Rudimentary at best, but it would work. In Wisconsin we were told in the event of a tornado, head to the casino parking garage. I had not heard that before, but that would probably work.

Just be alert and don't drive into any storm. Be ready to adjust your travel if conditions don't look good. Unlike hurricanes which we know about several days in advance, they can only announce that "conditions are favorable" for a potential outbreak. Be safe, not sorry.

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RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 01/04/20 06:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With all this in mind I make sure my NOAA Radio is on and functional... One problem I have with my setup is it requires attention when I am on the move going through different states and counties of states etc...

My cell phone proves to be the best Weather Monitor when in travel mode... When setting up camp then I like the NOAA Weather monitor setup in my OFF-ROAD POPUP as it is ON 24/7 and it is pretty loud getting your attention in the middle of the night... I use a MIDLAND NOAA Monitor availale from AMAZON...

[image]
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Being a Ham Radio and Emergency Comms nut I am also always listening to the local Police and Rescue Broadcastify frequencies when setup in camp. Always like to check on the WX over local TV Channels before going to bed as well...

Roy Ken
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* This post was edited 01/04/20 06:39am by RoyB *

patperry2766

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Posted: 01/04/20 06:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't overthink it. Get a good weather app on your phone and take off. The odds of dying in a tornado are 1:60,000. The odds of dying in a car crash getting there are 1:103. You'll usually have several hours advance notice of a tornado watch in a particular area so adjust accordingly

April is the biggest month for massive thunderstorms, May for tornadoes, though they can really hit anytime of the year. Dallas just had a big one hit a few miles from my job this past October.

* This post was edited 01/04/20 06:56am by patperry2766 *


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BB_TX

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Posted: 01/04/20 08:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Put it in perspective. There are around 70 tornado deaths in the US per year. There are in excess of 35,000 vehicle deaths in the US per year. You are in far more danger in driving thru the area than by tornadoes while in the area. And the months of April, May, and June are the prime months for tornadoes primarily beginning in the southern states early and moving northward as the weather warms. So April will be sort of a "shoulder" month in the great plains.

Tornadoes are very destructive and life threatening, IF you happen to be in the path of one. But they are not something that happen daily, or even weekly. They are typically very scattered, short lived, and cover a short distance before they dissipate. I have lived in the southern end of tornado (north TX) all my 74 years. The last time a tornado hit our house I was 3 years old. And none particularly close since then.

Don't be overly concerned about them. But do be prepared. There are weather apps for your smart phone that will send out warnings for the local area. A good NOAA weather radio is good to have. You can program in the local county you are presently in. If strong storms are predicted, stay tuned to local TV channels for up to date weather forecasts. When you check into an RV park find out if they have a shelter on site. And if not, where is the nearest safe place to go.

Again, be prepared. But don't let that worry spoil your trip.

* This post was edited 01/04/20 02:29pm by BB_TX *

doxiemom11

Yoakum Texas

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Posted: 01/04/20 11:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We travel thru tornado alley each spring into MI from south to north. As we travel we pay attention to weather and if there are spring storms north of us, we sit where we are until they pass. We have never had one hit where we are, luckily. Just know where you should go to seek shelter and have your weather radio on. We have a Eton Scorpion that automatically connects for weather in the location where we are at. It is solar charged, or can be hand cranked to charge. You can charge a cell phone off it, listen to music (never do) has a flashlight and a couple other hand gadgets. We would highly recommend this weather radio and it is only about $40 -- we have used ours for at least 5 years

RoyF

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Posted: 01/04/20 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm now 80, have lived in tornado country all of my life, and have never seen one. (One has struck as close as 10 miles away, however.) It is my guess that only a small fraction of the inhabitants of "tornado country" have ever seen one.

I agree with BB_TX that local TV provides the best information about storms. If you are traveling, you can get weather information over the internet from a local TV station's website.

Go to Wikipedia and search Lists of television stations in North America.

MarkTwain

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Posted: 01/04/20 07:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:

Put it in perspective. There are around 70 tornado deaths in the US per year. There are in excess of 35,000 vehicle deaths in the US per year. You are in far more danger in driving thru the area than by tornadoes while in the area. And the months of April, May, and June are the prime months for tornadoes primarily beginning in the southern states early and moving northward as the weather warms. So April will be sort of a "shoulder" month in the great plains.

Tornadoes are very destructive and life threatening, IF you happen to be in the path of one. But they are not something that happen daily, or even weekly. They are typically very scattered, short lived, and cover a short distance before they dissipate. I have lived in the southern end of tornado (north TX) all my 74 years. The last time a tornado hit our house I was 3 years old. And none particularly close since then.

.

In Texas near Elpaso, I ran into a tornado and in 15 min. the damage to my truck and trailer was $15,000.00[emoticon]

Veebyes

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Posted: 01/05/20 07:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Twelve years ago we set off on our very first RV trip with our 34' 5er in April. It ran from Austin TX to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, MD.

Not being familiar with tornados we had the same apprehensions as you about travelling through the midwest during tornado season. We did have many years living at home in Bermuda & dealing with hurricanes. You can dodge a thunderstorm if you are on the move. You cannot dodge a hurricane when you live on an island.

Many years & miles later we keep a very careful eye on the weather. An easy thing to do these days. If you are in a CG, that is where you are. There is no dodging whatever is coming your way.

We have dodge a couple of severe thunderstorms. First one, before we had a smartphone, with the help of a ham radio operator in Dodge City, KS. We had a severe TS coming up behind us. Online he could see the track of the storm & gave us a detour that took us out of its path. Another time, while travelling east on hwy2 in MN we had a storm also travelling east right behind us like a train on tracks. In that case we turned north on a highway, went about 10 miles of so, stopped & watched the storm roar by to our south, went back south & continued east BEHIND the storm.

Chances of even being in a tornado warning area are somewhat slim. Be aware before the severe weather hits. Like dealing with hurricanes, running around outside preparing for a storm that is already ontop of you is too late.


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themoons

Salt Lake City

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Posted: 01/05/20 07:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is all really great advice. Thanks everyone. Sounds like a NOAA weather radio and and a couple of good apps will help in preparation. Safety is the most important so we'll make sure to take great care. Appreciate all the tips.

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