RVs Swallowed by River in Recent Storm

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View of a storm approaching while on the road

Mother nature can be a beast and doesn’t care whether your home is an RV or a mansion. When the weather gets ugly, it’s important that you take it seriously and immediately take action. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds warnings as they should.

Southern California was recently on the receiving end of mother nature’s wrath. Severe flooding from the storm caused a nearby river to rise and swallow a few RVs during the storm. This was an unfortunate but completely avoidable situation.

Today, we want to help you to learn from this situation and prepare to face stormy weather while RVing.

River Swallows Multiple RVs in California

Valencia Travel Village RV Resort has more than 300+ sites, some of which overlook the beauty of the Santa Clara River.

Unfortunately, the increased rain the area experienced at the end of February 2023 ate away at the embankment. Eventually, the land gave away and collapsed.

Ventura County air crew shared footage they captured from one of their air units onto its Twitter account. It reveals them using a spotlight to inspect a damaged RV that fell into the water in the early morning hours. 

Why Weren’t the RVs Moved?

Unfortunately, the safety and security of the area changed very quickly during the extreme weather.

Residents told ABC7 that the river rose incredibly fast, and the river bank washed out very quickly. The park was working with guests to move RVs away from the edge, but not all guests could move as quickly.

We’ve seen several discussions online regarding the incident, and some allege many of the residents in the area were full-time residents. One guest who had his motorhome fall into the river couldn’t move his rig. He knew the risks of parking there but opted to gamble and not get a tow truck.

Was Anyone Injured During the Storm?

Fortunately, there were no injuries or deaths associated with the storm or flooding in the park. In total, three RVs fell into the river. 

Additionally, the park lost power and water during the storm and for a short time after. The area experienced rushing waters for several days as the river ate away at the land.

Tips for RVing During Stormy Weather 

We’ve had the unfortunate experience of RVing during stormy weather.

While it’s not a pleasant or ideal experience, each instance has taught us something new. Here are a few tips that can help increase your safety during extreme weather.

Check the Forecast

Make it a habit to check the forecast during your travels. This includes your current location, any future destinations, and in between.

The weather could be very different wherever you’re heading. You don’t want to get caught in severe weather on a travel day or while hiking.

Find a weather app you like. Accuweather, The Weather Channel, and WeatherBug are some of the best. Enable or permit notifications when installing them. Regularly checking the forecast allows you time to plan and respond appropriately.

Keep in Mind: Driving in fog is another scenario you don’t want to be in. However, if you do have to drive in it, You Should Always Follow These Tips

Secure Your RV

In the case of severe weather, especially high winds, you can protect your RV by securing it. This means closing your RV awnings and picking up any gear or equipment outside. 

Depending on the situation, you may even want to consider hitching up your rig. This can increase your stability and allow you to exit quickly if needed.

An RV on the side of the road due to a storm

Stock Up on Supplies

You’ll need plenty of supplies if you plan to weather the storm. This includes food and water for everyone in your camper.

You’ll also want to ensure you have a first-aid kit and any necessary medications. With severe weather in the forecast, stocking up on these essential items is a good idea.

Depending on the conditions, you may need to stay put for several days. And there’s no telling how long it will take before life returns to normal. Having as many essentials as possible can help you stay comfortable while weathering the storm.

Stay Alert

You must stay alert and aware of the weather conditions to stay safe. While meteorologists can predict the weather with high levels of accuracy, they’re not perfect. 

Flash flooding and other serious weather issues are nearly impossible to predict. Staying alert can help you to respond quickly during unexpected events.

As we mentioned, you need notifications enabled for weather apps on your phone. Additionally, we recommend having a weather radio or some other backup source for information. This can allow you to stay as alert as possible during extreme weather. 

Additionally, if you stay in a campground or RV park, know their plan for communicating with guests. They may utilize text notifications or other systems. Ensure they have your most up-to-date information so they can quickly and efficiently communicate with you and other guests.

Have a Plan for Power

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an area to lose power during and after severe weather. This is where having a large battery bank, solar panels, or a portable generator can come in handy. 

Being self-reliant means you won’t need to depend nearly as much on the power company or campground to restore power.

Have extra fuel, propane, batteries, or a generator as part of your power plan. While others in the campground may be unable to run air conditioners, microwaves, or other important appliances, you can when you’re self-reliant. 

Keep in Mind: Before you decide to install solar panels on your RV, you might want to see How Much It’ll Cost!

A woman attaching solar panels to her RV

Leave When Necessary

There may come a time when the best option is to leave a campground or RV park.

Severe weather is nothing to play with, especially if your RV is your full-time residence. In these instances, it’s best to pack your things and find a safe place away from the weather.

In more serious circumstances, you might not have time to pack your RV. You may need to grab what you can and leave quickly. While this can be a difficult decision, you can replace material possessions. No material possessions are worth risking your life or the lives of others traveling with you.

Finally, know the escape routes out of the park in case of fire, flooding, or other emergencies.

Don’t Take Chances with Severe Weather

If we’ve learned anything during our adventures, it’s not to take chances with severe weather. These situations can be extremely stressful and chaotic, but proper planning and access to certain tools can help ease your worries. 

Staying connected and aware of the situation can help you to make confident decisions to keep you and your loved ones safe. Most importantly, don’t take chances or risks with severe weather while RVing. 

Luckily, no one was injured or killed when the RVs fell into the river in Southern California. Rains and flooding happen quickly, and the ground beneath you can give at any moment. Stay watchful and careful while enjoying Mother Nature.

Have you encountered severe weather on your travels?

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