Let's see, WHERE in the world, could you possibly have steady winds that are low and suddenly jump to great (too great) velocities? Lots of places Europe, UK, Oz & NZ, USA, the Caribbean, etc. and in different times of the year. One are comes to mind, HERE in SE Florida and over the last two days. Normally we get these sort of violent squalls in the warm months in Florida, say the later part of spring into early fall. There is the odd exception in frontal systems that blast down in the cooler months.
So, what happened? Over the last two afternoons, we had 10 to 12 kt.+ side shore (largely thermal) winds out of the south. If you rig big particularly with the newer kites and a larger board you can shred fairly well. Over the last two days a NASTY long, narrow band of squalls formed around the center of the state and racked southward over the east coast. Warnings were posted about hail the size of apples and winds around 50 kts. I will upload radar images of this once I get to the office.
Guys had to have been out in areas of the coast. So, lets say someone actually stayed out and ALLOWED themselves to be hit by a squall? They could have been hit by 50 kts. up from 10 kts. This equates to TWENTY-FIVE times the power! This could be like having a SEVERAL HUNDRED SQUARE METER KITE in 10 kts. Absurd, maybe, but the power is IMMENSE at any rate.
For whatever reason the squall band went to sea and eased before it moved to my area on each of these days and worked over only 20 miles or less of coastline. Normal wx has been cancelled!
So what to do? Want to go riding?
1. Check color radar if you have it. Look for embedded storm cells in squalls moving towards you or forming in your area. Temper this with LOCAL knowledge as conditions can change radically in only an hour sometimes.
2. Check realtime wind reports. If there are strong gust spikes and/or sudden direction changes examine the radar particularly for that area. See if there are severe weather warnings, if there are pay attention.
3. DECIDE, if based upon this and PAST experience with similar systems if something nasty is likely to slam down on you or not.
4. If you decide to go, STAY AWARE, at all times of the weather. Things like cloud lines, wind direction and velocity, white caps, temperature changes. Good chance you are a wind junkie already so play the complete roll and tune into wx.
5. If you see a squall moving in, get to shore well IN ADVANCE of any change in wind speed, direction or temperature. Anchor your kite very well and detach the lines. Guys have already been severely injured by waiting too late in this. Lets try to cut down on repititons of these avoidable accidents.
If you ride with a bunch of regulars at your local launch consider getting an airhorn(s) and agreeing on a SQUALL'S ON - ALL IN signal. Something like three fast blasts repeated. Some also hoist a red flag at times like this. Try to look after your own in this, the squall doesn't discriminate and will spank anyone that is in the way.