Camping Weather Safety Tips

As we move into the Spring, many of our thoughts turn to enjoying the outdoors.  It is important for us to remember that we need to know what to do when threatened by adverse weather while enjoying these outdoor activities, including camping.  It doesn't always have to be a tornado that should concern us, it could be lightning, hail or even strong winds. 

One way all of us can stay informed of the weather situation is by listening to NOAA Weather Radio or even commercial radio.  It is important to have a battery-operated radio at your campsite at all times, so you know what is moving in your direction.  You can also be an amateur weather forecaster by watching the sky.

All of us can tell that storms are approaching if the sky is dark or if you hear thunder or see lightning.  But even before that, you can begin to prepare for storms if you see clouds rapidly developing vertically.  This can serve as your first "clue" of what may be possible later.  The most important thing to have is a plan of action that everyone knows and understands!


  • Move to the campground shelter house.  Get on your knees and cover your head.
  • If there is not a shelter house, evacuate your tent or camper and lie flat in a depression, such as a ravine, and cover your head with your hands.
  • Never get in your vehicle to escape a tornado!

Lightning, Wind and Hail:

  • If tenting, move to the shelter house or your hard-topped vehicle.
  • If no shelter is available, seek refuge in a cave or under a thick grove of trees that are taller than your tent.

Flash Floods:

  • Never camp next to streams, creeks, or rivers as heavy rain can cause water levels to rise rapidly.
  • Never cross rain swollen creeks, rivers, or streams as the under-currents will carry you downstream.
  • If flash flooding does occur, move to higher ground immediately!

The KEY to your safety is staying informed no matter where you are!! is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.