Editor’s Note: The following column by Mark Polk appears in the latest RV Education 101 newsletter offering tips on how to use an RV in an evacuation.
September began like any other month, but soon took a turn for the worse. It was typical day-to-day business, and we were preparing for an RV trip to attend the RV show in Hershey, Penn. This show is an annual event for us. We get to look at new model year RVs, visit with friends and business colleagues and we can gauge the current state of the RV industry (which I might add is doing quite well).
Prior to leaving on the trip, the news reported a tropical storm forming in the Atlantic with conditions that could spell trouble for the eastern seaboard. Not knowing at the time where the storm would make landfall we continued with our trip planning and did little in the way of preparing our house for potential storm damage. We live about 75 miles inland from Wilmington, N.C., and we have a destination camper on a lot across the street from the ocean at North Topsail Beach, N.C.
The trip to Hershey was uneventful for the most part. I am still having some back issues from my surgery so we made two stops along the way to spend the night at a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground. As we watched the evening news there was more talk about the tropical storm, now dubbed Florence, growing in strength. Forecasters were predicting it could turn into a Category 4 or 5 hurricane as it gained intensity over warmer water. The storm tracking indicated it could make a direct hit on the North Carolina coastline.
The RV show was barely underway and we were trying to decide whether to go back home, or stay in Pennsylvania where they were experiencing weather concerns of their own. I have written several articles in the past about using your RV as a means of evacuation and shelter during storms. In my articles my recommendation to hurricane victims is to pack the RV with food, water and clothing and head inland whenever there was a possibility you were in the hurricane’s path.
I have experienced numerous hurricanes during my 40 years in North Carolina, so I generally know what to expect. The scary part is the unexpected, like tornadoes and winds in excess of 120 miles per hour. Regardless of how prepared you might think you are conditions can worsen without notice. There are power outages for days on end, along with gas, food and water shortages.