Staying Safe in Severe Weather While Camping

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SHENANDOAH VALLEY, Va. (WHSV) -- The Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains are a camping hot spot, meaning what happened on the Eastern Shore on Thursday could happen in the Valley.

Campgrounds can be one of the worst places to be during severe weather. Spring and summer are the most popular seasons to go camping, but they are also the peak of severe weather.

Tents and RV's don't provide good shelter from storms as tents are easily blown over and won't block flying or falling debris. Although RV's and campers provide a better barrier, they can easily be blown over and become projectiles.

"Doesn't matter if it's 10,000 pounds or even if its 4,000 pounds, if you have a tornado coming through it could pick it up and take it away," said Craig Osborne.

He is camping in the Valley on his way to South Carolina and feels for the campers killed and injured in the possible tornado, "I feel sorry for them because they're campers, and campers are a big family. They talk about truckers on the highway, they're a family, campers are a big family."

In any severe weather situation, you always want to find a sturdy building to take shelter.

Most campgrounds have bathrooms that you can go to. Ideally, you want to be in a basement, or the most interior room in the building away from windows, but sometimes you don't have that option.

If you find yourself outdoors during a tornado warning and there's no sturdy shelter to go to, the best advice is to find the lowest lying ground and lie face down with your hands covering your head. This gets you out of the way of the debris that could be flying around.

Always make sure you have a way to receive storm warnings, with a battery powered weather radio. While cell phone apps can provide warnings, the system can fail if here is no cell service or if towers are down.

Weather radios transmit on seven VHF frequencies and don't require cell towers.


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