Dear Dr. R. V. Shrink:
We are heading north after our first winter in Arizona. We imagined everything about our first year of retirement and looked forward to spending it exploring the Southwest. What we didn't imagine was the risk of getting home in the spring. We ran smack into a weather pattern that dropped golf ball size hail on our new rig. It looks like it has been pelted with cue balls.
I thought we were heading home too soon, but my husband was chomping at the bit to get started. What I thought would be a relaxing trip north has turned out to be a nightmare.
Is this a regular occurrence? Is severe spring weather something we should learn to deal with?
I am not playing the blame game, but I think we should stay south longer and avoid the transition storms we have dealt with this year. My husband thinks it was just bum luck. Any thoughts?
--Hail Mary in Minnesota
Heading north in the spring with flocks of other migrating snowbirds can get dicey. No one seems to be able to predict the weather, but forecast science gets better all the time. It would be wise to invest some time in the weather channel, weather apps, maybe even a weather radio. The more information the better.
You may want to plan a route that skirts geography that is notorious for the worst spring weather outbreaks of tornadoes, hail, wind and flooding.
After a lot of homework, you can still experience bum luck and just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When that happens, find a safe harbor for your land yacht and park it until it looks safe to be out on the road again.
Hail can be very damaging to metal, glass, fiberglas and paint. It is all repairable after negotiating with your insurance company.
Following spring home can often be as enjoyable as the whole winter of travel.
Try not to let this experience ruin numerous years of future, trouble-free travel.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink