Good luck with the cleanup in Jamaica and everywhere else Sandy messes things up ashore. It is interesting the wind went from not much to hurricane force with little buildup. There are lots of variations in weather out there.
With the eastward shift of Hurricane Sandy away from Florida, I was able to get out for two fast hour or less sessions yesterday with the diminished wind and squall activity at the time. One before work and one after. There were no squalls when I launched in either case. One did show up in the afternoon, a nasty looking one that sent me in to secure early, see photo below.
While I was tearing things down I was astonished to see two kiters LAUNCH just ahead of the approaching shelf cloud squall that had sent me into shore. They were about four hundred feet north out of earshot, not that they would likely listen if I told them to come in. One with two years experience with none in high wind asked me before I launched if he should go out, no squalls then, to which I said no. He took the advice to heart and decided not to go out, at the time. Seas were head high to over three times head high outside with a ripping longshore current with winds averaging about 27 kts and gusting higher.
Apparently his friend who had been kiting for five years talked him into going out anyway. They promptly drifted about a 1/4 mile south and stayed inside the break in large measure. The shelf cloud came overland and within five minutes the wind spiked into the upper 40 kt range, three times over about five minutes. Blasting wet sand, seaweed and foam all over the place. They both released their kites entirely eventually. One when his kite looked like it was about to invert upwind and starting spinning of a rock ledge on the beach and the other grew tired of being teabagged further offshore I would guess. Both made it to shore eventually and intact fortunately. Turns out a condo resident called the EMTs anyway, they showed up as I was walking back with one of the riders. They were lucky, lots of other kiters were far less fortunate in similar and even lighter conditions over the years.
If you can't use common sense, be lucky, trouble is luck doesn't last forever. Best to use your head from the start, launching into a squall is just plain dumb. If it looks black or threatening, don't go out but secure well until it passes. In a mass of clouds the squall may be a darker mass perhaps with a distinctive shape. The wind doesn't always come before or even during its passage over, sometimes it follows the cloud so have a care.