We all know the danger of a storm striking at the wrong time. Hail can damage your vehicle, heavy rains can close off roads, and severe winds can turn your tent into Mary Poppins.
Then again, you don’t want to pack up your campsite every time you see some clouds on the horizon. Quite naturally, this conundrum creates a problem for lots of campers in trouble each summer.
Should I stay or should I go?
There’s no exact rule to follow, but we can at least offer our top 3 pieces of advice so you’ll have the best chance of making the right call as bad weather approaches.
Have Access to Warnings
The Bureau of Meteorology is normally pretty good at putting out warnings before the bad stuff strikes. But if BOM doesn’t float your boat, there’s also Weatherzone, a variety of storm-chasing pages on Facebook, and plenty more storm alert systems.
If you’re out of internet range or you’re prone to flattening your battery by lunch each day, the radio is a more-than-handy backup. Regular weather updates can let you know if there’s a storm coming in, so you can potentially act before you even see it.
Know Where the Bad Storms Come From
For us here in Coopers Plains, there seems to be a storm factory west of us. Well, that’s at least where all the bad storms come from.
If you’re heading somewhere new, ask the locals where all the bad storms come from. Then when you set up camp, pull out a compass and get an idea of where to be wary of.
If you see nasty clouds on the wrong horizon, it’s not worth ignoring. But generally, you can trust that you’re not in any immediate danger.
Watch Out for the Nasty Clouds
If you ever see this in front of you, don’t even bother packing up. It’s probably about to start raining sharks.
But on a serious note, there are a few signs that a storm cloud could be a nasty one. Some of the common signs are:
- It comes over like a wave, with an obvious edge to the heavy cloud
- It has either a brown or green tinge to it
- It’s as dark as clouds get.
Understand How Long Pack-Up Takes
If packing up is as simple as putting the dishes away and hitching up the caravan, you can be out in a jiffy if the weather turns. But if your campsite has more bells and whistles than a cathedral for referees, it’s going to take hours.
Storms on the horizon can be on your doorstep within half an hour. If your pack-up takes longer than that, seeing a storm might mean you’re already too late.
Plan Your Path Back to Safety
Off-road paths are good fun in the dry, but if roads are starting to flood, they can quickly become a nightmare. It’s all well and good to time your campsite pack-up, but if it takes another hour to find safe, sealed roads, that’s all time you need to account for.
If your pack-down takes an hour and you have an hour’s drive back to safe roads, you need to pack down 2 hours before any nasty storms might arrive.
Have the Right Recovery Gear Ready
Even with warnings in advance, your timing considered, a safe path planned and everyone helping to pack down, you might still end up caught by that rogue storm. And if that happens, you’ll need to have the right gear to get you back to safe roads.
For all the recovery gear you could ever ask for, check out the range on the Outback Equipment website.