There aren’t too many things more frightening in an RV than severe weather. One of the biggest problems is that there typically isn’t much warning. While you often have plenty of time to evacuate for hurricanes, tornadoes are another story entirely. At 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, a tornado ripped through an RV park in Southeast Georgia and the devastation was as bad as you might expect.
Tornado strikes at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado had sustained winds of almost 130 mph. Several RVs were flipped on their sides and upside down at the popular RV park located on Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. One RV and a truck were thrown approximately 200 feet into a lake. While the property damage was extensive, fortunately injuries were not life-threatening, according to a base spokesperson. The base commander thanked first responders for their quick actions. They transported nine people to the hospital and treated four others on site.
Tornado unpredictability demands vigilance
Tornadoes are some of the most difficult weather events to prepare for since they are so unpredictable. The United States averages more than 1,000 tornadoes each year. Even though they can be unpredictable, there are some known causes. For example, hurricanes and tropical storms offer all the necessary weather elements to spawn tornadoes. They carry small, spinning supercells inside their outer bands that can form twisters.
This is why it is especially important to be aware of local weather. Understanding the difference between a watch and a warning is crucial. A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in thunderstorms. This is the time to identify where you will seek shelter. A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been either spotted by a human observer or indicated by Doppler radar. Once a tornado warning is issued, you should take cover immediately. The county where this campground was located was under a tornado warning for a mere 5 minutes before the tornado hit.
Radar CC #confirms debris from the tornado in Camden County past St Mary’s heading towards Kings Bay Base.
— Danielle Uliano (@DanielleUliano) July 7, 2021
Tornado safety measures for RVers
If you are in an RV park or campground when conditions are right for a tornado be sure to:
- Don’t let your guard down. Pay close attention to local weather forecasts. Monitoring the National Weather Service Forecast website with a weather radio (we recommend this one) is ideal and cell phones may fail.
- Know your exact location. When traveling we may not always know the county we’re located in. Be sure to ask the campground upon check-in so that if the National Weather Service does issue a warning, you’ll know if it affects you.
- Identify the best shelter. During a tornado a storm shelter or basement is ideal. If this is not an option, at least find something sturdier than an RV such as the bath house or laundry facility and stay away from windows. Here’s a guide to RV parks with storm shelters – keep this handy!
- Be prepared to evacuate quickly. Have your pets and a “go bag” ready. Don’t waste precious time trying to get things together if the moment arrives.
How you can help
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Kings Bay, GA, is a non-profit that is assisting our Retired and Active Duty Service Members affected by this storm. If you would like to make a monetary donation, please visit the NMCRS site and specify it is for Kings Bay RV families.