You don’t need to be a weather broadcaster to know that 2023’s late winter weather has been active! Here in Missouri, we’ve escaped some of the worst storms and tornadoes that have plagued our sister states in the Midwest, like Tennessee and Arkansas. Well, our luck ran out this past Saturday. That’s when a hail of a storm hit our little town 25 miles southwest of St. Louis.
We can’t say we weren’t warned. Weather stations predicted storms several days in advance. On the day of the storm, the local emergency sirens sounded twice before noon! We cautiously rolled up our RV’s awning and tucked our outdoor chairs safely inside our RV’s basement.
From our cell phones, my husband and I watched the band of storms grow and develop until it stretched across several states throughout the Midwest. We locked the RV’s basement storage areas “just in case.”
Our weather radio cautioned us of wind and hail. Because we were not far from our stix-n-brix home, we decided to go there instead of enduring the approaching storm hunkered down inside our RV. It was a ten-minute drive.
Once home, we listened to television reporters warn viewers that strong winds and potentially large and damaging hail was embedded within the coming storm system.
A storm where all hail broke loose!
Strong winds hurled pea-sized hail at first. It came down hard and fast, quickly stripping my poor tulip blooms completely off. Then larger hail followed—first, the size of ping pong balls, then golf balls, and finally what looked to be close to baseball-sized hail.
The noise was unbelievable! (Imagine what it would have sounded like from inside the RV!) Hail beat onto our roof. It slammed into our siding and windows. After what seemed like an eternity, rain came down. And kept coming for almost an hour.
Assessing hail storm damage
Once the skies finally cleared, we went outside to check for damage. The house siding was cracked, missing in places, and parts of it featured gaping holes. Our roof shingles were a mess. West-facing windows sustained cosmetic damage, and our dually truck was transformed into a “dimpled darling.” Ugh.
What about the RV?
We hoped that the hail storm missed the RV. After all, our rig was ten minutes away. Maybe, miraculously, it escaped damage. Well, not exactly…
Two roof vent covers were broken and the lid over our shower skylight was destroyed. Thankfully, the covers took the hail’s punch and protected the RV vent fans below. We found no other damage. We’ll let our dealer check just in case we missed something. We already have an appointment for next week! Hooray!
I am so thankful that we have insurance on our RV. And our home… and our truck! I’m happy that no one was seriously hurt by this hail storm, too. So why tell you about a random, Midwest, late-winter storm? As a reminder.
Check your RV now!
Perhaps the weather in your region has seen strong winds, excessive snowfall, or hail recently, too. If your RV has been in storage, I’d suggest you check on it ASAP. If your RV’s roof vents (or even the roof itself) have been damaged by recent storms, the sooner you know it, the better. No one wants to take that first seasonal RV trip only to find leaks and other damage.
Moral of the story: Head over to your RV storage right now and check. And make sure you climb up on the roof!
Nothing new to those of us that live between the Rockies and the Appalachians.
Our story started out on our first trip out in our new to us class c in June 2017. On the last day at our first stop a mid-afternoon hailstorm with baseball sized hail derailed us for 4 months while I repaired the usual damage myself. USAA totaled our car (we decided to keep it) and Progressive came through and paid for the RV damage. Still driving both today.
5 years ago in Montana we waited out a golf ball size hail storm. The sound inside the motorhome was frightening. When it was over our three A/c covers was like Swiss cheese and our satellite dome was cracked in several places. Our basement doors on the curb side all dented. The Jeep had dents on one side an 97 dents on the hood. We had $11,000 damage on the Moho and $6200 on the Jeep. While ours all repairable the Airstream trailer a few sites away looked totaled.
I have had vent covers installed on each RV I’ve owned since my parents were caught in bad storms, with tornados and very large hail, in Wyoming. With no covers, their vent lids were destroyed which then allowed the pouring rain in.
One tip on vent covers…white reflects sunlight and aids in keeping your RV cool in summer. Smoke or black absorbs tremendous heat up on the roof (as do dark paint jobs on sidewalls) transferring heat into the RV. In direct summer sunlight, I have measured temps exceeding 190 degrees on dark/black surfaces in ambient temps of 90 degrees F. Light or white right next to it was around 60 degrees cooler. Everything on my roof is white (Vents, AC shrouds, Rayzor Antenna, etc.)
I have often thought about how much hotter an RV is inside when the outside is black or some other dark color. I guess that’s why you see so many RVs with 3 A/C units. I think back to the last ‘99 fifth wheel 35’ and white with one A/C that kept it cool in AL.
I did two hail storms with golf ball to baseball while living in NM. I put the TT under the car port and the boat under the tree but the pick up looked like the jolly green giant walked all over the truck taking out the windshield. Insurance covered thank heavens.
This is a horrible story, and scary too. Problem is, I don’t trust most weather prognosticators. It doesn’t seem to matter what part of the country you live in. With all this computer technology and satellites they seem to be no better than the “weather people” of the fifties who relied on clouds, barometric pressure, and actually looking out a window.
Art more than science.
The comments above demonstrates that our education system has failed us.
Yes, there is amazing work being done at NOAA and by a lot of very fine broadcast meteorologists. There ARE towns which employ script-readers that offer subpar forecasts.
And, nature. There is no reason weather can be presumed to be 100% predictable, there are just too many variables, no matter how fine your models are. Ludicrous to expect crystal-ball work from forecasts.
They seem to be pretty accurate at predicting storms just not as accurate at where the storm will travel.
I think back to the ‘70s when the Sears tower was being built in Chicago, ABC local affiliate WBKB ch 7 moved their studios into the building, John Coleman was the chief meteorologist and somehow convinced them to build a window in his weather office. He claimed with all the hi-tech computers their still was nothing better than looking out the window. Everyone thought he was a clown, but from there he went on to build the Weather Channel that everyone uses today.
We were pummeled by softball sized hail at our home while the RV was in storage a few miles away. Standing on our covered patio, the impacts sounded like a huge hammer striking our house and everything else with shuddering impact.
I made a note to remember to remove the tiles from my patio table next time. They shattered like an explosion. Our trailer got smaller hail but it still cut the roof membrane enough to warrant a new roof. The tiny tears were too small to see until you crawled around up there. Our awnings got torn along the seams as well and the front cap had several stars and chips in it.