Monday, May 29, 2017

5/25 Really Big Storm!!

I am running behind a bit on my blog because I have been busy with some work things.  Anyway, I have been thinking about this event that happened last Thursday and have some lessons-learned from this experience.

First, Thursday, May 25, was a beautiful sunny day.  I was parked at Minooka Park campground on Wilson Lake in Kansas.  Check my post a couple of days ago, but I had a fantastically beautiful camping spot at the end of a peninsula, about 20 feet above the lake:



Just before sunset, I noticed dark clouds gathering to the northwest.  I have an app on my phone for weather and radar.  Weather showed a 30% chance of rain that evening and radar showed the storm path to our north.  I kept checking because those clouds over the lake really looked nasty. 

Around 9:45 pm, I could hear thunder, so checked the weather and radar again.  Now, the chance of rain had changed to 100% and the radar showed the storm practically upon us.  There was also a severe storm warning with winds of 40 mph, gusting to 60-70 mph, except now the storm was practically on top of us. 

I had nothing outside, and my bike was lashed down because I was leaving in the morning.  I wondered about my neighbors who had been having a campfire with a lot of stuff spread around.  However, there was no tornado warning, and no siren or the usual knocking on doors by camp hosts asking us all to go to the restroom shelter.  There really was no time for anything. 

Anyway, the wind hit us almost immediately.  I have been in storms where my motorhome rocks and rolls, but this time my whole motorhome started shaking and I could hear things outside banging and my slide awnings flapping loudly.  I grabbed my keys and started the engine and headed quickly back to hit the buttons to put the slides in.  My motorhome was rocking so badly, I could hardly walk.  Putting the slides in helped, but I should have done it much earlier.  

Of course, at this inopportune time I had to make a quick bathroom trip!  When I got to the back of my motorhome, I noticed that rain was blowing under the slide and flooding the hall rug, bathroom rug, and the carpeting in my bedroom.  I grabbed a handful of towels and threw them down.  As I headed back to my living area, I noticed that rain was also coming in through my closed and locked window on the side the wind was coming from.  My mobile hotspot jetpack that was sitting on a bookcase near the window was getting wet, as was my cell phone.  I grabbed the jetpack and put it on a lower shelf.   

Next, I grabbed my cell phone and purse, put my jacket on, and buckled myself into my driver's seat.  I figured that was the safest place in case my RV rolled over.  (Luckily a C-Class motorhome has an automotive-type cab that is surrounded by metal on top and sides.)  I could not see anything outside, even with the lightning.  

Here are two captures I took of the screen of my cell phone radar app.  The blue dot is where I was located.  Note the purple in the center of the red in the enlargement. (Ignore the purple pin.)





It only took maybe 10 minutes for the storm noise to lessen a little.  The campground power was now off, but I had battery power so all my lights were still on.  When the rain was mostly stopped, I put on a raincoat, grabbed my best flashlight and went outside to check the damage.  Incredibly, everything looked OK.  One compartment door was open which was probably the cause of the banging sound, so I closed and locked it.  I came inside and put the slides back out for the rest of the evening.  Went to bed and power came back on about 1:00 am. 

The next morning, I did notice a 6" tear in one slide awning, but it is rolled up when the slide is closed, so it will be fine driving until I can get it repaired.  The bike was still covered.  The weather news reported that there were 60-70 mph "straight line" winds over Wilson Lake and that we had had 1.9" of rain in that one hour, which is amazing!  One of my neighbors stopped by as I was getting ready to leave to see if I had survived.  Funny thing was that he was camping with his 14-year-old daughter who had slept through the whole thing, even when he put the slide in that she was sleeping on!

I did not take time to drive around looking for damage, but the camp host stopped by the dump station to chat and told me one trailer rotated 90 degrees and several 5th wheel trailers got pushed off their jacks.  Someone else had lost an awning and a lot of chairs and belongings were blown around.  (He had not checked on any people in tents, other than he noticed they had all packed up and left--duh!)  He also told me that his big 5th wheel was chained to eye-bolts in the concrete of the pad he was camped on!   

Anyway, I do not want that exciting of an evening again soon! 



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