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Old 02-23-2009, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 26
Default Becoming full timer in JUly

Hi Everyone!

My family (hubby and 12yr old daughter) and I will be jointing the ranks of full time rv'ers in July. After many years of seasonal camping we have decided that this is an opportunity we can no longer pass up.

We have a 35' Salem TT and will be heading to St. Augustine FL during hurricane season... what does one do when there is a threat of a hurricane? Pack up and head out of town? Tie downs? I am from the north and have know experience with this any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:04 PM
ctfortner's Avatar
Camping Fanatic
Camper Type: Travel Trailer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 1,188
Blog Entries: 9

Welcome, and CONGRATS on fulltiming. We are all jealous, I am for sure. I dont know much about hurricanes, fortunately, all we get here are tornados. I think in FL and LA they throw parties when there are hurricanes, but I cannot imagine campers are partying during that time.

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Old 02-27-2009, 09:09 AM
mailfire99's Avatar
Camping Guru
Camper Type: Travel Trailer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Alabama
Posts: 429
Blog Entries: 2

Just wanted to say welcome aboard, fortunately I dont have to camp near hurricanes so I cannot help there. Congrats on the full timing though.
"Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten"
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 26

Thanks to all! I'll just have to keep researching this hurricane thing. I know all about snow and cant wait to leave it far behind:-)
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:31 AM
antigua's Avatar
Camping Guru
Camper Type: Travel Trailer
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 735

Welcome to the forum. Tornado's and Hurricane's, just the thought of going thru something like that would scare the crap out of me. I like my trailer where it belongs...on the ground LOL. There are many people that camp in hurricane areas. I'm sure someone here could help you out.
I just remembered something funny Have you seen the movie Cars, if you know it there is a scene near the end of the movie where Mater (voice of Larry the cable guy) finally gets a ride in a helicopter and shouts out "I'm happier than a tornado in trailer park!!!" Great line!
Shane, Michelle, Emily & Liam Harvey
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:07 AM
Camper Type: None
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 852

First off, if a hurricane is coming, you do not want your trailer there. St. Augustine is on the coast, so you would get the full force. Usually you have enough warning to move when needed - you would be luckier than most, as you would be far enough north that you could get inland easier than someone in Key West or Miami.

In the past 20 years I've evacuated for two hurricanes - Hugo in '89 (good choice to leave) and Floyd in '99 (turned out not be necessary). I didn't have my trailer back then, but it has been through several tropical storms (that could've become Cat 1 before all was finished). During those times I've boarded my windows and moved my camper next to the house. You won't have that luxury full-timing, so each one you will have to play by ear.

Hurricanes coming from the Atlantic usually take one of two paths - either they go right across Florida, or they keep turning enough to the north that they mainly affect North Carolina's outer banks. Sometimes they hit in-between there, but usually it's one of those two. That's why I can wait before I leave. My in-laws are inland about two hours from here (almost exactly due west), and if a hurricane hits my house, it's traveling north east, so anything we get there will be the weakest side.

If you (and Georgia and South Carolina and Alabama) have competent governors, then you should be able to stay fairly long until you have to leave - a hurricane's track is still something that changes easily over several days. The reason I say that is because here in SC we had a one term governor in '99 that blew it - and that is why he only got to serve one term. Over a period of about 4 days, Floyd was going to be a monster storm - but the prediction of where it was going to hit started at the keys and kept moving north. You had all the highways jammed through Florida, then through Gerogia, and finally our state. Gov. Hodges woudn't reverse the Interstates (i.e. chaneg the eastbound lanes to westbound so everybody was moving inland). Since we headed somewhat southwest through the back roads, we didn't have too long a trip - but others were stuck taking 17 hours which would normally take 2 hours. If that monster storm had hit, a lot of people would have died on the highways. During this time, buses loaded with inmates were allowed to pass everybody using the emergency lane, and the prisoners made obscene gestures at everybody. Hodges said there was no official policy to reverse the lanes, but somehow Gov. Campbell did it back in '89. Former Gov. Hodges, retired earlier than planned (good riddance).

Things to remember - you may stay for a lesser size storm, but you want to be prepared. Use some kind of tie-down (especially if your trailer is going to sit for awhile - that way you're already prepared). Pull in your awning - no need to have a sail attached. Be aware of your elevation where you are staying - a storm surge is not a pretty thing. During Hugo, though the eye went north of Charleston (and at low tide), it still came through over 6 feet deep where I was living (several blocks from the harbor). McClellanville, which was on the northern side of the eye, got at least 27 feet (the gauge broke, so no one knows for sure how high it got). The high school there, which is several miles inlad, was an official shelter. EVerybody was in the lunchroom, and the water kept rising. Not knowing when it would stop rising, and all exits blocked by now, the adults started shoving the kids into the A/C ducts in the ceiling. The water finally stopped about a foot from the ceiling. If it had hit at high tide, the storm surge would've been at least 6 feet higher. My parent's house in Mt. Pleasant, which is on the harbor but high, got 6 inches in the first floor. 6 more feet would have torn walls down and possibly damaged the foundation beyond repair (like their house on Isle of Palms which got about 6 feet of water through the first floor).

You'll just have to trust your instincts. If one is coming, fuel the vehicle, and be sure you have enough drinkable water and non perishable food to last for several days (they always say you should have enough to last you 4-5 days - took them 5 days to get to the Superdome after Katrina). Don't leave at the first watch - a watch just means conditions are right for one to hit within the next 36 hours. Pay attention to the warnings - that means one will probably hit within 24 hours. If they order a mandatory evacuation, you will be glad you are already prepared and can be at the front of the line.
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