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So, what happened yesterday? Lets have a look ...
Had another cold front squall line yesterday, bringing winds gust to 40 to 60 mph +, tornados, waterspouts and offshore wind shifts. This was the second violent front in a week. Many dozens of kiters have been killed in these worldwide and likely hundreds injured including paralysis, brain trauma, major and minor bone fractures along with damaged or lost gear.
Kiters still go out in them due to a lack of apparent understanding and respect for just how easily and badly they can be messed up. Gear has improved but not enough to allow you to risk this sort of violent weather.
These squall lines are usually easy to see and avoid. Some people just don't try or ignore them. This squall line could be seen days out working its way across the country and causing damage along the way.
You could see it was going to be a bad one before 8 am way up near Tarpon Springs above Tampa that morning through radar, real time winds and hazard forecasts.
Driving northward through Boca Raton, FL along the coast at 1:45 pm when the squall line passed over.
The wind spiking in Royal Palm and at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale.
It was slamming through South Florida hours later, spiking the wind into the 40 to 55 mph range. The hazardous winds usually passed within an hour, this time. Sometimes they take longer.
I stopped at Delray Beach to shoot a shelf cloud that was flowing out to sea. Apologies for the poor stitching job, something about these images is confounding several different pano applications. I had to use a Droid-X telephone for the images, usually not that bad in a pinch.
Click image for full sized photo
This is a short interesting video of the same cloud drifting seaward under a sudden strong west offshore wind.
I saw something about 3/8 mile offshore and couldn't quite make out what it was other than it was heading offshore in the face of the squall. I almost called the USCG thinking it might be a disabled kiter, windsurfer or ? I asked a couple of kiters who set me straight. It was someone's kite, inadequately anchored for a 90 degree wind reversal boosting to 35 kts., imagine that, that was ripped from shore likely to be lost. The only sure way to secure kites before a storm is to roll them up or at least take the lines off and deflate the leading edge well anchoring it with sand. Wouldn't it be interesting if someone got caught in the lines of a powered up kite heading offshore? A kiter died of hypothermia in CT after chasing his kite a short distance offshore in the face of a similar squall line wind shift. He was adrift in the dark perhaps for ten hours in December before he succumbed.
There is a lot to know about weather or take it more basically. Do your weather planning and monitoring, if something threatening moves in, land and secure EARLY. Don't screw around, a percentage of us will pay, some dearly for staying out too long.
Copyright FKA, Inc. 2011