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High Winds Flipped Their Parked Motorhome, and their Dog Survived!

Published on April 3rd, 2024 by Rene Agredano

RVers like us know what high winds can do to RV awnings and loose objects at the campsite. Meanwhile we also hope that our rigs are safe from high wind when we are parked. Unfortunately, two full-time RVers discovered this isn’t always the case when high winds flipped their parked motorhome while they were away and their dog was inside. Here’s how they graciously described the ordeal, and what they learned as a result.

Their 51,000 lb. Parked Rig was Flipped by a Wind Gust

On a relatively calm day driving from Las Cruces to Carlsbad, New Mexico, Margot and Monica parked their 2019 Newmar Dutch Star 4369 Class A motorhome outside the visitor center at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. “There was some wind in the forecast, but nothing we were too worried about. It was a drive from Las Cruces to Carlsbad, and it’s almost always windy. It’s western Texas, after all,” they write in their blog, MNM Go!

Not long after leaving their dog securely inside the coach and going into the visitor center, cell phones buzzed with an emergency warning about an impending wind storm. Not a tornado warning, they report, but just a normal high winds alert that’s typical of spring weather in the Southwest.

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Within minutes, dust storms obliterated visibility of the nearby mountains. The oncoming wind blew as high as 100 mph. No stranger to RV driving in bad weather, the two full-time RVers waited out the storm with other guests inside the visitor center. Knowing their dog Lacey handles storms with ease, they had no concerns leaving her in the nearly 24-ton Class A with trailer in tow.

Just a few minutes after the duration of the wind kicked up, not even a vehicle weight like theirs could prevent the oncoming calamity.

About 5 minutes after we sat down, a parks worker came in and said “whoever owns the RV, it went over.” We had no idea what “went over” meant, but we both assumed the brakes had failed and it had gone into a ditch. We went outside and fought the winds, hurrying to where our RV was parked. Well, where it was parked when we left it.

It had actually blown over on its side!

Monica, “Our Motorhome was Destroyed!
What their Dutch Star looked like after winds overturned it in the parking lot. (Image: MNMGo.com)
What their Dutch Star looked like after winds overturned it in the parking lot. (Image: MNMGo.com)

Watching the aftermath of high wind flipping their RV was surreal.

“It took me a while to believe what I was seeing,” Monica said several months later. “We were in a panic until we knew Lacey was okay, and then I was in shock. I could stand at the windshield on its side and look through it to see how much was destroyed.” When Margot reflected back on the awful ordeal, she remembers how she “felt total and utter disbelief, shock, and sadness. At first, I just couldn’t believe it. Then I was working to make sure Lacey was okay. She was scared, and she’s still scared when she hears the wind.”

In a stroke of good luck during a bad time, the winds flipped their motorhome on its good side. As they looked toward the front of the RV, they could see that the entrance door was accessible. They peered in, and were horrified.

From what we could see, the passenger-side slide had collapsed a bit into the coach, like a drawer going too far into a dresser. A lot of the furniture that was “permanently” attached to the walls and floor had come away from the walls and floor, and everything was jumbled. The wind was blowing hard, the temperatures were falling, and the only clothing we had was what we were wearing. 

Monica, “Our Motorhome was Destroyed!

The motorhome was stable enough to retrieve Lacey, who managed to survive without physical injury. Some items survived too, but not many. So that night, with only the clothes on their back, they headed to Walmart in Carlsbad to buy everything they needed for a few days, from clothing to toothbrushes and food. After checking into a hotel, they spent the next few days retrieving what was left of their belongings. They also dealt with their insurance company.

What They Learned About RV Insurance Coverage

It was a freak high wind speeds event that could have happened anywhere in the windy Southwest. The wind didn’t upset vehicles nearby. Only theirs. Unfortunately, it was their only home. Nearly everything needed replacing, and fast.

“We thought we had the right coverage, but we found out we didn’t,” says Monica. They knew they had a big problem when learning that insurance covered the actual RV, but not loose objects inside. In other words, their destroyed personal effects, from kitchenware to clothing, electronics to camping gear, did not fall under the policy coverage. They paid for the purchases to replace those items, and thankfully some big ticket items like electronics managed to survive. Working with their insurance company was another ordeal that taught them valuable lessons. The bottom line: always err on the side of caution to have the right RV insurance coverage for their needs. Always carry more than the minimum, whether you have a travel trailer, fifth-wheel, van, or motorhome.

If the incident had been a fire or theft instead of what happened, we would have lost so much more . . . It’s a delicate balance to make sure you are covered but also not spend thousands of dollars on coverage each month. We have increased our deductibles to decrease our premiums, and we now have that amount in cash in a savings account that we don’t touch.

Monica & Margot

Four weeks after the rollover, Monica says they managed to locate their next full-time RV home. “We found our new coach at the first place we looked. It was the first one we saw, too. It was a sign – it was the one! It is a 2023 Dutch Star 4325, and we’re its first owners.” Today they continue traveling around the country, but with more caution than before, even when parked.

Driving in High Winds is Not Worth the Risk

“We’re smarter about the weather, now,” says Monica. “If you search through RV forums, you’ll find a lot of opinions about driving in high winds. People will tell you they drive in 60mph winds all the time without incident. We trusted that information a bit too much, but we don’t anymore. When we saw the winds were going to be over 40 mph that day, we should have elected to travel on a different day. Instead, we were confident it would work out.”

Today, Monica and Margot stay put if the weather radio forecast predicts higher wind speeds over 20 mph. “It’s just not worth the risk to us. We use Windy.com to help predict the wind speeds and directions on our trip, and we drive when the winds are calm. We also avoid the rain, like we did before. We are fair-weather travelers.”

Read the entire ordeal of how high winds flipped their parked motorhome, at MNM Go!. A special thanks to Margot and Monica for sharing their story and photos.

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