Spoiler: We’re safe and sound, but let me back up.

It was June 2016, and my boys and I were visiting Richmond, Virginia for our visit to see old friends. Our hotel: super friendly. Trader Joes: down the street. Panera Bread’s coffee: even closer. This trip would be good friends catching up. Nothing big, nothing scary.

Wrong again.

One evening I picked up the kids from their friend’s house to head back to our hotel that was two miles away, the skies began to lightly sprinkle.

No biggie.

Once on the main road I saw that a tree had fallen across the road. Huh. I drove around the tree.

And promptly lost all visibility. Like, I couldn’t see a thing.

I punched on my hazards, and flashed my high beams over and over (hoping to signal oncoming cars). I finally pulled over to a safe spot, and turned on the radio and heard, “Tornado warning in Henrico County. Take cover. Tornado warning in Henrico County. Take cover.”

Me: Absolutely freaking out!!  The boys: creepy quiet in the back.

The rain died a bit, so I drove – like a bat out of bat-prison – to our hotel that was now just a mile away.

Throughout, the radio intoned, “Tornado warning! Take cover.”

Thankfully we made it back to the hotel and warm beds.

The next day’s headlines blared, “‘Historic wind event’ downs trees, power lines.”

My  point: whether you’re visiting different states in the U.S. or traveling to a different country, get to know that region’s weather for the particular month you’re visiting.

Say you’re spending a week in Hawaii. Their world melts from sublime to perfect. So what’s the problem? For starters, Hawaii has a tsunami alert system. For a reason.

Before you visit paradise, get to know her weather inside and out.

Every state in our country – every country in the world — has some kind of funky weather that the locals know all about, but you and I don’t.

My favorite sites are:

  • the National Weather Service, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Accuweather
  • Weatherspark

Then — and this is key — when you’re actually in Maui or wherever check you favorite weather site daily. Even twice daily isn’t too much in many parts of our planet.

And when you’re on the trip and everyone has a million questions about the afternoon storms? Smile, calmly explain the situation, and feel (just a tad) smug.





Adventure more. Panic less. Travel writer wants to shout it from the rooftops every not discussed method for safer, saner family travel. Read me before you take off!

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