Bad weather can happen any time and anywhere, even when we have decided to take the whole family on vacation. So the question to address is, “How do I stay safe during a lightning storm?”
First, it is important to understand the difference between a thunderstorm WATCH and WARNING. A watch means the conditions are right for a storm to develop and a warning means there has been a storm reported or detected on radar. Stay up to date on any incoming weather conditions with a portable radio or on your smartphone. WeatherBug and Weather Channel are great apps to use or The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and The Nation Weather Service are great websites to find forecasts and radars.
Where am I safe?
To answer the question of how safe your RV is from a lightning strike you need to know what type of material was used to manufacture your RV. If you own an Airstream or an all-metal shell, then you are the safest you can get because if a lightning bolt strikes your RV it will create an effect called a Faraday Cage. The electrical current will follow the outside edges of the rig. The same will happen for any aluminum skin toy-hauler or even if your RV has an aluminum cage and fiberglass over-top. It is unsafe to stay in your RV when it is constructed of complete fiberglass or wood, in which case you should go to your tow vehicle.
- Get off the water if you’re out fishing or boating
- Put away and secure any small items, tables, and chairs that might be blown around
- Bring your pets inside
- Lock storage compartments
- Retract your awning and make sure it is secure
- Close all windows
- Have an emergency kit prepared with a portable radio, flashlight, and a first aid kit
- Make sure to unplug your RV from the campsite pedestal to prevent surges or spikes that can burn out everything electrical in your RV. If lightning strikes the ground it can easily get into the underground wiring and to all campsites.
Now that you know what to do for a lightning storm, make sure to know what to do if there is a tornado heading your way. As always, the best way to be prepared for a storm is to know if storm damage is covered by your RV insurance, so talk to your agent today.