Blue Angels Practicing, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida - May 10, 2017

Blue Angels Practicing, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida - May 10, 2017
Blue Angels Practicing, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida - May 10, 2017

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hazardous Weather Outlook -- Tues., Apr. 9

When the words "Hazardous Weather Outlook" appear on the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Weather Service it's time to keep a close eye on the weather. This is especially true when you live full-time in an RV. They're much less sturdy than a sticks and bricks house.

Today, our Hazardous Weather Outlook in South Texas is for 50% chance of severe thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow. The report mentions large hail.

We have not had the misfortune of being in a storm producing large hail. From reading the blogs of other RVers who have, we hope never to encounter quarter- to golf-ball-sized hail. Horror stories include cars and RVs with multiple dents, broken skylights and even broken windows. (The hail must have been driven in at an angle by the wind. I would call that a window wind-OW.)

In other parts of the country the Hazardous Weather Outlook could be for strong winds, heavy snow, flash flooding, nor'easters, tornadoes, hurricanes or ice storms.

Rainstorm, Tigard, Oregon, November 7, 2009.
My favorite hazardous weather is a dramatic thunderstorm with booming thunder and breathtaking lightning displays, followed by pouring rain. The rain may produce flooding in the short term, but the long-term benefits are great. In springtime, the rains water the earth causing grasses, trees and flowers to burst into healthy greenery and color. Lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams get a much-needed infusion to water wildlife, livestock and birds as well as provide irrigation water. Aquifers recharge. Waterfalls become thundering torrents. The effects may not last long, especially if drought is an issue, but any rain that falls is welcome.

Downpour while gate guarding, Cotulla, Texas, May 2012. Yes,
that's a new river flowing past our RV. By the next day it was dry.
Two of the most interesting hazardous weather events I've seen occurred in Oregon (where we lived for over 30 years, and is our RV home base).
  1. The first, in Portland, was a "silver thaw." A "silver thaw," as it is called in western Oregon, occurs when rain falls through a warm layer and strikes a surface that is below freezing, causing the rain to freeze on contact. Severe ice storms result. Power lines and tree branches get very heavy with ice and can snap in medium to strong winds.

    On Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., I went to work in northeast Portland. My drive had been routine until I exited the freeway a mile from work. Because the Columbia River Gorge acts as a funnel for freezing east winds to enter northeast Portland and the Vancouver, WA area, it was much colder than other parts of Portland.

    Upon exiting the freeway, the large boulevard was, surprisingly, a solid sheet of ice. The wicked cool part was the surrounding landscape: every blade of grass had frozen individually so the grass looked like upside down icicles, every limb and tiny branch on the trees were sheathed in ice, and power lines were encased in ice. A beautiful, treacherous, icy wonderland! Thankfully 8:00 a.m. on a cold, Sunday morning meant almost no traffic. I drove cautiously, enjoyed the gorgeous silver thaw, and made it to work. By the time I left in the evening, the ice had melted.
  2. Another time, we lived on the banks of the Willamette (pronounced will-LAM-it) River in the Willamette Valley. The forecast was for high winds, up to 80 mph. I was alone as Bob traveled a lot for his work. Many times the forecasters are wrong about windstorms, so I wasn't overly worried. I secured what I could on our deck, turned the picnic table and benches upside down and made sure the cats were inside.

    Then the wind hit. It came out of the west which was good because we had only one set of windows on that side of the house. However, those two windows were bowing inward. I thought they were going to shatter. At one point, I opened the window a crack to ease the pressure, but the wind was blowing too hard to leave it open. I put a big "X" of painter's tape on each of the windows and closed the curtains. That way, if the windows broke, the theory was the glass would be partially held together with the tape and the curtains would keep the glass from blowing far into the room. The winds howled around the house. When it was over, I went outside and surveyed around the house. The windows survived. Nothing was gone or broken. 
What hazardous weather have you encountered either on the road or in a sticks and bricks house? I'd love to hear your stories.

Travel Bug out.

25 comments:

  1. Hope the weather isn't very severe and that you guys stay safe and your rig undamaged. Just here in NJ, we've evacuated our rig twice due to the river overflowing its banks, felt an earthquake, had a tornadic event, a few Nor'easters with loss of power and Hurricane Sandy during which we closed up our rig and took shelter in a nearby hotel. That took us off the grid for almost 2 weeks; cell phones were out for the first 48 hours. Severe weather is a whole different ball game in an RV. We're thankful we have reliable weather/emergency services information sources and a fixed structure to shelter in if necessary. Batten the hatches and hunker down!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You have had quite the time with the weather! I follow your blog every day and I'm always happy to hear you have shorts and tank top weather, not ice, snow, or hurricanes!

      You two should write a book.

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  2. Right now we are in Denver. A blizzard was predicted, but we only ended up with a little snow. We had high winds and the windchill was -11. We brought our slides in due to the threat of heavy snow. We thought it might hurt the awnings on the slides. It is also easier to keep the motor home warm by bringing the slides in. We had to disconnect the water hose so that it would not freeze. We bought a heated one, but the sensor would be inside the basement which is heated, so it would not keep the hose from freezing. This is not fun. Any thought of winter camping next year are no more for me. Oh, and Joey, my male greyhound, escaped from the RV this morning and was racing around in -11 below weather. Luckily, he came back, but it was scary.

    BTW, I am so scared of storms in RVs. We are headed to Dallas soon and I know I will be in storms. :-(

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This IS April, right? Windchill of -11 is frigid. I'm glad Joey is okay. He didn't get frostbitten paws, did he?

      When we workamped at amazon.com in Fernley, NV, our RV park was 30 miles east in Fallon. The overnight temperatures in Nov. and Dec. were in the teens and single digits. Many times there were strong, gusting winds causing windchill like you're talking about!

      Will you be coming through San Antonio at some point?

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  3. Living in the country, surrounded by flat cornfields you could always see the funnel clouds in the sky as the swept across the area. We had two come through and touch down in our city and we saw it from our home. But even as far away as it was...the sound always stays with you. As we drove to town to check on my mother who was in the hospital, the devastation was unreal. We lost many a tree, the leaves came off and were in tiny pieces, our maibox was bent in half...it's then I realized be alert and take cover if you can.

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    1. Crazy scary. Tornadoes are one type of storm I never want to see or be in the path of! Didn't you have a basement storm shelter?

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    2. At that home we had a quarter size cellar that housed our well pump and furnace...and we were down there for the worse part. It was when it passed over us that we came up and saw the other funnels touch down in town. Yes, let hope anything like that always passes to the North or the South of us.

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  4. There was a time that nearly any kind of weather related storm, I handled fairly matter-of-factly but over the last few years, I have become increasingly nervous about them. After being in a couple tornados and last years hail storm that reduced my roof to shreds, I am wary. The hail storm destroy every roof in our city of 200,000 so it wasn't just us. The hail stones were baseball size. Scary as hell.

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    1. I've never heard of baseball-sized hail. Yikes! Did that size hail dent your cars??

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  5. It just came through AZ. Actually just did a post on it. Be careful out there!

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    1. Read your post. Beautiful snowfall (if it was, say, December)! I'm glad you can enjoy it with all your supplies and Joey. Nothing prettier or quieter than freshly fallen snow.

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  6. Gee Susan...I just pictured the good times. Never thought about storms and such. Ooh my... My daydreams never included hail, just gentle rain and occasional thunder..hmmmm

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A weather radio, preferably battery operated in case of power failure, is a must have when you live in an RV. It's best to move out of the way of a damaging storm if you can, take precautions if you can't. A lot of RV parks in high wind, tornado, or hurricane-prone areas have a cinder block laundry room or bath house for safe shelter.

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  7. I never thought much about the weather at home except during hurricanes and they always gave you a heads up!

    I had on flip flops this morning as we headed out the door of the rv when Steve said it was snowing! Went back and changed shoes. The snow flakes gave way to hail. That has stopped but boy is the wind whipping around!

    Staying three more nights here in Moab while we wait for the weather to change. Headed to Nathrop Colorado. These Floridians sure have alot to learn!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I sure hope where you're going in Colorado isn't too high an elevation. Snow is possible high in the Rockies at any time of year.

      Can't wait to read more of your blogs!

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  8. I sure hope we don't get any of the severe weather either Susan. The rain we can surely use but no hale or high wind please!

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    1. Colleen,
      The latest weather report I heard is that the brunt of the storm will pass just to the north of San Antonio. Of course, we know by tomorrow morning that could change. Thunderstorms yes, hail no.

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  9. Well, we certainly have a similar background as we are very familiar with icy roads, frozen fog and silver thaws for the years and years we lived in the Vancouver, WA area. We are also very familiar with large hail for the years we lived in the Dallas area. We don't like either one. They are very dangerous. It definitely is important to keep checking the weather forecast. It changes more often than we think it might. Being alert and aware is the best way to stay safe.

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    1. Our weather here in San Antonio was 88 and very humid (86%) yesterday. We had both air conditioners and our small fan running. When I work up this morning, I was shivering. Only the fan was going. I checked the outside temp; it was 45 degrees and had been raining quite a bit as evidenced by many puddles around the RV park.

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  10. I remember our first big storm, it was so scary. Howling winds, rain, hail...our travel trailer only recieved a few dents...which has very lucky for us.

    Stay safe!

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    1. So far our most severe weather while we're in our 5th wheel has been very cold (-4) not including wind chill, and huge thunderstorms with lots of rain.

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  11. Being from Ireland... well rain... and well more rain :)
    Well how else would we have 40 shades of Green.

    auntyamo
    http://ficticiousamo.wordpress.com/

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    1. Oregon must be very similar to Ireland...rain and more rain, and yet more rain.

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  12. My biggest concern in this RV life is wind and hail.

    Growing up in Wisconsin we often had tornado watches, but luckily we never actually experienced one! However, there was one storm with very strong straight line winds. When we got up the next morning, the top of a huge pine tree from five houses away was lodged in our swing set. That was a scary storm.

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  13. In California we don't have these crazy storms with golf ball sized hail, tornadoes, etc, but we do have floods. Probably the worst for me was January 1, 1997. A 'pineapple express' came in from Hawaii and dumped on a unstable snow pack in the Sierra. I was working for a water company and what began as routine visit to a remote location ended 36 hours later. Maybe you have seen the high water signs on the Merced River in Yosemite Valley from that storm. We had the same on the Tuolumne River. I was never so glad to see stars in the sky as I was when that storm broke!

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