Thunderstorm

Judoka

Learning To Live
As strange as it may seem this is just now becoming a concern of mine, even though I picked up my first RTT more than 5 years ago! What do you do when a storm rolls in with lightning? I think I just did not deal with very many thunderstorms when I lived out in Arizona, but here in Kentucky we seem to get a whole lot of them. I know that the safest place to be during a storm is either in a building or your vehicle, but it seems like a bit of a challenge to get out of bed, down the ladder and into the truck in the middle of the night to wait it out.
 
Last edited:

Recommended books for Overlanding

Overlanding the Americas: La Lucha
by Mr Graeme Robert Bell
From $20
The Longest Line on the Map: The United States, the Pan-A...
by Eric Rutkow
From $13.39
Tortillas to Totems (Every day an Adventure Book 4)
by Sam Manicom
From $9.99
Cycling the Great Divide: From Canada to Mexico on North ...
by Michael McCoy, venture Cycling Association
From $9.99

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
What do those of you whom spend extended time in the tents do?
Extended time? I only stay in there at night when I'm sleeping, how long you staying in there?

If it's storming I'm going to get my butt out of there. If I got some warning I'm going to fold it up to protect it. Been lucky so far, nothing more than heavy rain, but I keep the weather in mind for sure.

Hopping out for a storm, inconvenient? Yes. Worth having a tree fall on you or worse, nope. But I wouldn't treat the RTT any different than I've been doing staying in tent trailer campers. I've folded up a camper at 2AM to ride out a storm before. I left the tent up once with some storms and warnings for the area, but we had cell access and radar to keep a close eye on it. Plus none of us had went to bed yet and it died down before everyone turned in.

Now rain, maybe a stiff breeze, naa. If NWS is issuing warnings, definitely bugging out, and the thunder is getting closer, yeah I'm out. Of the tent at least, might ride it out in the truck, but not staying in the tent, no way.

Not so long ago an EF1 tornado touched down a few hundred yards from my home. It's really easy to get complacent, especially in a nice safe feeling house. Even though the warning was issued and I knew it was nearby, by the time I took it serious I already heard the thing howling out there. By the time I did anything about it, I probably have been dead if it was a direct hit. It took out a strip of woods and flattened an area comparable to a baseball diamond or so, with dozens of trees 2-3 foot in diameter.

If it's storming, you better pay attention. Better to be too cautious than not cautious enough.
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
As strange as it may seem this is just now becoming a concern of mine, even though I picked up my first RTT more than 5 years ago! What do you do when a storm rolls in with lightning? I think I just did not deal with very many thunderstorms when I lived out in Arizona, but here in Kentucky we seem to get a whole lot of them. I know that the safest place to be during a storm is either in a building or your vehicle, but it seems like a bit of a challenge to get out of bed, down the ladder and into the truck in the middle of the night to wait it out.
It's definitely safer inside the metal shell of your truck, but it's your call. Nothing but feeling safe is important at times like that. Statistics aren't very assuring, but one thing's for sure, either way....you're not going to get much sleep.
 

Judoka

Learning To Live
Bugging out is not always an option. I am good with riding it out in the truck I guess, but it sucks when you know that at some point during the night you are likely to encounter a thunderstorm and you have no way to avoid it. How do you get to bed? I mean, you will have to get up and in the truck at some point!
 

kdeleon

Observer
I have hauled my kids down from the RTT in the truck while thunderstorm is rolling in, 3x if i recall. The last one we got 2 waves rolled thru us, the 2nd time it went thru i rolled the dice and decided we will all sleeo thru it, fried or not.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

jjohnson1892

Adventurer
I was caught in a nasty thunderstorm last July, pretty beefy winds and rain and I knew it was coming in around 2am. Turned in early, got a few hours of rest, then hopped inside the jeep with the seats folded down and waited it out (till the sun rose, unfortunately). It sucked, but I had some peace of mind inside my vehicle versus being up top.

In hindsight, I should have just prepped the inside of my Jeep better and just stayed in it the whole night, rather than trying to sneak a few hours in before. I was anxious the whole time I was up there and didn't sleep much.
 

pyrate

Rollin' along
Man, I guess I am dumb. :ROFLMAO: I have camped through all kinds of storms and as long as I am below treeline, I just stay put.
 

Judoka

Learning To Live
That is what I am saying. I know it is safer in the vehicle. But I wonder if it is at all safe if you have higher ground above you and taller trees around.
On the other hand I do know that lightning does travel through the ground, so....
It would be interesting to know what experts say. I am going to be spending many nights in this tent and it seems like there must be some sensible protocol.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Another article from Mike Sokol about lightning safety you all might find interesting as he specifically address's lightning while camping. This article "May" provide some of the answer's to the OP questions.

In this article he address's fabric tents/Pop-ups.

Mike's qualifications:

http://noshockzone.org/

The article below is from yesterday's daily email publication from RVtravel.com

Issue 881 • April 11, 2018

This newsletter is brought to you Monday through Thursday by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

RVing Tip of the Day

Will your RV protect you from a lightning strike?

By Mike Sokol

Since we’ll soon be in lightning season, it’s time to prepare for storm safety. Here’s a typical question about RVs and lightning I receive every year.

“I know an automobile or truck is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm with lightning because you are basically in a metal box. How about our fiberglass RVs? Are we protected in any way from lightning or should we head for our vehicle?” —Walt L. (Boulder, CO)

Ah, yes. The “Why don’t you get electrocuted when lightning hits your car?” question. As many of you may already know, you are safe from lightning when inside a car with a metal roof, but soft-top convertibles are certainly NOT safe in a lightning storm. That’s because as Walt hinted, in a car, you are essentially inside a big metal box, and this box forms something called a Faraday Cage. This cool gadget was invented by Michael Faraday back in 1836, when he coated the inside walls of a room with metal foil and discovered that voltages would flow around the outside of the room but never reach inside of it. See this website for more technical stuff about Faraday Cages.

It also hints that the rubber tires on a vehicle do nothing to insulate you from a lightning strike. If the lightning has already traveled thousands of feet from the cloud towards the earth, another 6 inches of tire insulation won’t slow it down a bit. It’s the metal surrounding you that forms a magnetic field that helps bend the electricity around the exterior of the box. And even though you have windows in a car, there’s typically enough metal in the windshield and door columns to make a nice low-impedance electrical path around you. However, don’t stick your hand out the window in an electrical storm as you could be killed that way.

So let’s think about a typical RV. An all-metal shell like an Airstream is probably as safe as you can get in a lightning storm since they’re shaped like a big aluminum Twinkie, and that same airplane shape allows airliners to be hit by lightning without any interior damage. I’ve actually been on a flight that was hit by lightning, and even though everything lit up very bright, the pilot said it was no big deal and indeed everything was fine. And an aluminum skin toy-hauler or race-car trailer would be just as safe in a lightning storm.

However, fiberglass-skin RVs are a different story altogether. If they’re manufactured with a welded aluminum cage using fiberglass insulated panels, I’m pretty sure the Faraday Cage effect would still work. But if your RV is fiberglass over stick (wood) construction, then I would say you’re not safe in a lightning storm, and you would want to wait it out in the tow vehicle.

Pop-up campers with tent fabric offer zero Faraday Cage protection, so I would never spend time inside one during a bad lightning storm. Plus, if they’re parked under a tree there’s always the possibility of a big limb falling on your head with dire consequences. So pick your campsite carefully to avoid overhanging branches.

In any case, you’ll want to disconnect your RV shore power plug from the campsite pedestal during a big storm, since a lightning ground strike on the other end of the campground could easily get directed into the underground wiring feeding all the campsites, and you could have a several-thousand-volt spike (surge) come in through your electrical panel and burn out everything inside your RV. But your onboard generator should be safe to run since it’s also inside of your Faraday Cage. However, hooking your shore power plug into a portable generator sitting outside on the ground would be a very bad idea in a lightning storm.

I’ve also heard some people recommend lifting the leveling jacks or putting them on insulated platforms for lightning protection, but I’m pretty sure that would have little or no effect on any lightning ground surface charges getting into your RV. If you have a metal-caged RV with either aluminum or fiberglass skin, I would say to leave the jacks down, disconnect your shore power from the campsite pedestal, and turn on your battery-powered fan and interior lights for a little ventilation and illumination. Then break out the deck of cards and whatever social fluids you like and wait for everything to blow over. If your RV has a wood frame and fiberglass skin or is a tent fabric popup, I would head to the campground rec center or your car and enjoy the show while the lightning zips around you. And take your digital camera to try for some time-exposure pictures of lightning strikes. I love watching lightning storms … but only from the inside of a protected place.

Mike Sokol
 
Last edited:
Top