A strong storm system barreled through several Mississippi Gulf Coast communities yesterday evening (Monday, April 14), damaging and destroying numerous recreational vehicles in a campground, downing trees and power lines, and cutting electricity to some communities.
One of the hardest hit areas in the region was Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier; about two dozen trailers and campers were knocked off their blocks, overturned, or totally destroyed, and two people were treated at the hospital for injuries.
The roads leading to the campground were littered with debris, and the street lights were out.
A severe thunderstorm warning had been in effect in advance of a strong cold front moving into the region.
The National Weather Service didn’t think it was a tornado, meteorologist Robert Ricks told the (Biloxi) Sun Herald.
“It was straight-line winds of about 50 mph and none of the RVs were tied down,” said Ricks.
“In talking with emergency management personnel, there were no power lines down. It appears to be because of the straight-line winds in an RV park configuration without tie-downs.”
The police chief in nearby Moss Point, Keith Davis, told WLOX-TV there were downed power lines and trees there. He said one power line caught fire but it was quickly extinguished.
First responders quickly scoured the campground searching for anyone injured or stuck inside their RVs.
“We’re just looking at the damages, assessing what’s happened,” said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Area Coordinator Carolyn Nelson.
“We don’t know exactly how much damage we have yet, but have at least 25 trailers so far
Red Cross volunteers were also on hand providing assistance to victims.”
Protecting Your RV During Extreme Wind
I think we can all agree that dealing with a major storm is NOT a pleasant situation.
Similar incidents have been known to happen, especially when parked in extremely windy locations and during severe storms.
Many RV owners have asked the question, “At what wind speed should I be concerned?”
RVs have been known to weather 75 mph wind speeds without tipping over; however, variables such as weight of the RV must be considered.
The “rock-a-bye-baby” effects are intensely worrisome to most RV occupants. If you ever feel concerned about the wind, the following two recommendations should be considered.
Park Your Nose into the Wind
The less surface area the wind his hitting, the better. The pressure of the wind on your vehicle is called “wind load” and you can decrease it immensely by pointing the front of your RV into the wind as opposed to having the wind blow across the length of your RV.
For the average size RV in a 60 mph wind, the wind load is 2967 pounds when the side of the RV is to the wind. However, when the RV’s nose is to the wind, the wind load decreases to 1032 pounds. You face less than half the wind load simply by pointing your nose into the wind.
Extend your Stabilizers
Better safe than sorry. If the wind is causing you to lose sleep, simply extend those handy stabilizers and fret no longer. Stabilizers are an easy fix for a parked RV that is beginning to sway.
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.