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 Post subject: SQUALL STORY - Broadband/DSL version
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2003 10:08 pm 
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http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=9207

The potential violent gusts and wind direction shifts in squalls can be highly hazardous to kiteboarders.
Lots of stories out there about sessions in the School of Hard Knocks in minor to incredibly strong gusts
and the sad consequences for the kiteboarder in the slot.
Kiteboarding can be enjoyed in
much better safety, with all the extreme moves, in stable weather. Going out in the unstable variety including
squalls,is only asking for trouble. These stories are coming in from areas ALL OVER THE WORLD. Just be near
hard objects (within hundreds of yds. or meters?), add some violent wind and be ready for some potential grim
consequences.
Some details about some of these experiences appear in the KSI at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... EFERENCES/

This article presents a sequence of photos, radar images and wind graphs before, during and after the squall.
These resources are readily available to riders in the USA and in many other countries. Shame on you if you
ignore these aids and have a severe avoidable go to with mother nature. Conditions can change so checking
out these resources is not enough. They are only an aid and
suggest conditions that can change while
you are out. So we all need to stay alert and observant while we are out for deteriorating conditions.

This event took place during the Islamorada Invitational kiteboarding competition on March 30, 2003 in
Florida, USA. A strong cold front was forecast to pass over the area on that day, Sunday. High winds were
predicted to accompany the front into the 30 to 40 mph range.

An early radar image appears below:

Image
Sunday, March 30, 2003 at 12:19 pm
A substantial squall line is clearly evident in the image, moving north to northeast. Movement can be estimated
from radar loop functions and TV color radar images.

Image
The event went along nicely from early morning on to late afternoon when things started to get interesting.


Image
Here is a windgraph courtesy of ikitesurf.com from Molasses Lighthouse along the Florida Reef Tract just south
of Islamorada. Note the major 90 degree wind direction change and increase in speed that occurred between
4:30 and 5:00 pm.

Image
An annotated Satellite Image of the area (from http://navisat.com/catalog.htm)

Image
The squall line is moving much closer to the event site in Islamorada.

Image
Some dark is sliding in from the south, from the right of the image. Riders did not appear to react much in
advance to the squall before winds and conditions changed.

Image
Coming a bit closer and some riders are actually coming in before the true fun starts.

Image
How does it go? "Something dark this way comes."

Image
The stragglers enjoy a major wind shift, soon to move to dead offshore and boosted gusts into the 30 and 40 mph
range. One kiter is being dragged at high speed and tossing out quite a bit of spray. Most of the competitors
weren' t using kite leashes. If things get out of hand, this is all you can do in such a situation. Keep your kite
very low, edge for all you are worth and HANG ON. Otherwise, you just let go andsend your kite running off
downwind for someone else to deal with. If you are lofted while trying to hang on to your kite that just goes
with choosing to ride without a kite
leash. I like Hamish's idea in using a leash and still doing incredible tricks. It protects bystande, his kite and
IF the weather goes bad before he makes
it to shore, it can PROTECT HIM AS WELL. Note the wind line that has
enveloped the first rider, this gust
hasn't hit the second rider yet on the yellow kite.

Image
Starting to look downright evil out there ...

Image
More gusts, rain and the mats go to sea ...

Image
The sky's looking pretty strange in a short lull ...
Waverunners are trying to still get some of the kiters in that were blasted by the squall are being blown offshore.

Image
Rain and gusts again ...

Image
The squall line passes ... but is that all?

Competitors and organizers were concerned about the safety of resuming the competition. At one point it appeared
as though it might have been concluded in the interest of safety. A couple of influencial out of area individuals,
those with little apparent understanding of actual area weather patterns, argued to continue the competition.
One person was heard to say, "they are Pro riders, they can handle it." I had heard that Pro riders were
issued a "I am EXEMPT from the Laws of Physics" card. If so, there may be reason to believe that skill can
overcome shear incredible explosive force such as sent a pro kiteboarder in Cabarete flying over 800 ft. horizontally in only
a 51 kt. gust when he was rigged for 10 to 15 kts. Gusts like that and MORE are not so uncommon in
squalls in this area and most of these riders were rigged for light winds. Hmmmm...

Image
Worry, concern and a bit of fear. Fear is a very good thing and has excellent survival value. All that was
needed was to checkout color radar on TV or on the Internet. This would have been seen. A large, clear area
behind or to the south of the narrow squall line. There was a substantial area of high pressure behind the squall
line along with the predicted strong offshore winds. So competitors
and organizers could have breathed a
bit easier if they had checked into available resources. It could have been different however and often is. There
could be a mass of yellow and red stacked up to the south which would have indicated that hazardous conditions
were going to continue to be present. It would be even better to monitor both visible conditions on the scene as
well as on color radar and the Internet. There is no need to go "blind" as was the case not so many years ago.

Image
Something the NWS service weather stations don't show are the gusts but list more steady wind speeds. This is a depiction of
an ikitesurf station further north in the Miami area that does show gusts and some strong ones too from the same squall line.
NOTE the major, rapid changes in wind direction depicted by the yellow arrows at the top of the page between
4 and 7 pm. These rapid, direction shifts are all to common in squalls. So you assume that you are ok because
winds are sideshore? Don't be because the squall can do anything from turning the wind off entirely to spinning
the direction of the wind and speed all over the place. Lots of uncertainty in unstable weather including squalls.


Image
Large image: http://gallery.kiteforum.com/albums/alb ... rada_VR3_s

So this was the back of the storm, but who knew? If you chose to guess you will set the table for interesting times.
Sometimes things can get too interesting, best to do your homework and save your extreme moves off the water
for the intentional variety.All these squall warnings to kiteboarders SHOULD be old news. The accidents
are mounting up as should the motivation to pay attentionto conditions and TRY TO AVOID this hazard. I guess
we just aren't quite there yet.

More ideas about weather and kiteboarding at:

http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopi ... e57dc7ca74


Last edited by RickI on Tue Apr 22, 2003 3:10 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 2:14 pm 
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Location: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Cool. The weathers been like that here in Auckland as of late. Massive downpours. The water turned brown with the sewers overflowing. Don't you just love crazy psychotic squalls. A friend of mine had the same thing happen in Fiji a few weeks ago. 25-35 knot northerlies, 90 degree wind shift, MEGA downpour.... rad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 7:10 pm 
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Great work Rick, you have some crazy weather around your way don't ya?
I can't help thinking what could have happened if it had been an onshore squall, with people trying to bodydrag back in to that launch site???
I think I would have dumped the kite to the leash and let it blow me in, maybe even dump the kite completely, I definately wouldn't have come in with the kite flying.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:40 am 
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Location: Florida
BLOWN AWAY wrote:
Cool. The weathers been like that here in Auckland as of late. Massive downpours. The water turned brown with the sewers overflowing. Don't you just love crazy psychotic squalls. A friend of mine had the same thing happen in Fiji a few weeks ago. 25-35 knot northerlies, 90 degree wind shift, MEGA downpour.... rad.


I have been impressed for sometime with the severity and frequency of more violent weather in Auckland. Some of the loftings have been spectacular to say the least! You do have EXCELLENT Internet weather resources, some of the best that I have seen. I hope you use them. I started the series of wx articles with the US then the UK, perhaps NZ next?

Fly safe!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 1:36 pm 
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Mr Jo Macdonald wrote:
Great work Rick, you have some crazy weather around your way don't ya?
I can't help thinking what could have happened if it had been an onshore squall, with people trying to bodydrag back in to that launch site???
I think I would have dumped the kite to the leash and let it blow me in, maybe even dump the kite completely, I definately wouldn't have come in with the kite flying.


Thanks Jo! South Florida does have occassional rapid, increases of windspeed in squalls. Then again, rapid increase of wind speed in squalls is not uncommon in MANY other parts of the world. Yesterday, I understand that they had 109 mph winds in landlocked OHIO!? How about those 60 to 80 mph gusts in storms in the UK? I imagine there are lots of extreme storm events in continental Europe as well. I know Italy has its share of nasty storms particularly in the winter.

Just came across the following site that presents info on hazardous weather near ports throughout the Med along with parts of Northern Europe and Africa:

https://www.nemoc.navy.mil/pages/medports/

Probably old information to locals but worth a look for traveling kiteboarders.

GOOD POINT on deploying your leash WELL AWAY from shore and all those hard objects. Thinking like that would have saved some kiteboarders last year. Then again, you choose to use a kite leash, most of these competitiors did not. So for them it is either HANG ON or send that kite flying at high speed towards others. Not a good choice. Safety gear including leashes can give you options that you might otherwise not have.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:45 pm 
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Since we are talking about cold fronts, it is the season after all in parts of the world currently, I pulled up this two year old, illustrated post about the onset and consequences of a WET COLD FRONT.

There is an example of a dry cold front here: http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2312199


NOTE:

We are in an El Nino event.

Weather is predicted to be more violent at times during such events.

We are seeing unusually powerful conditions during some weather events.

e.g.

- Four hurricanes hitting the USA (Florida) for the first time in over 118 years.

- Powerful cold front squalls such as resulted in the death of the snow kiteboarder in Alberta recently. It was said to be the most violent frontal squall to hit the area in over 100 years.

- 20 ft. of snow dumping in parts of the Sierra Mountains, most in 100 years,

- and on and on ...


On a related note, it has been proposed that tectonic activity is related to El Nino events, e.g. earthquakes, resulting tsunami's, etc.

Please have a care out there. This is no time to screw around with potentially violent weather as mother nature will be throwing more ringers for a while. You don't want to catch one out of ignorance or carelessness. A gust of under 20 mph can cause plenty of problems, you don't need a gust to spike to 60 mph to mess up your day. Avoid squalls and unstable weather.

Usually, there are forecasts and warning indications of incoming unstable weather. You just have to look them up and pay attention to improve the odds for a great, fun session as opposed to an avoidable accident.

Know your game, make a plan, stay alert, react early and have fun. There is more to this sport than just throwing tricks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:11 am 
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Location: South Fl
Rick:
I always like reading your posts. Intersesting and informative. Would you care to provide the links for the satellite images and color radar in the S FL area?
Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:55 pm 
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mbs wrote:
Rick:
I always like reading your posts. Intersesting and informative. Would you care to provide the links for the satellite images and color radar in the S FL area?
Thanks.


Thanks! I'll do better than that, how about for the entire USA? Some of the resources extend beyond that in some cases. I just listed a series of links along with a few things to look for in weather planning and monitoring for kiteboarding. By the way, some of this stuff can be received on internet ready cell phones. So, if you are driving around wondering if the winds are going to turn on soon or not, you can check it out while mobile.

There have been many times when I was expecting a cold front to arrive and bring good winds for kiteboarding. The question is when and how much? We all have other stuff to do right? So it can come down to timing.

You look at the the links listed at the location listed below, estimate how fast the front is moving down. This can change of course and time things to be on the beach and ready to rig once you can see the strength and stabiliy of the wind. It is a great feeling to be looking north up the coast and see a fine line of white caps small on the horizon, slowly march towards you and spike the wind upwards once it envelopes you. Many times I have hit the beach about 1/2 hour before the frontal winds turned on and have been one of the first guys out. It beats wind waiting on the beach for hours!

Check it out at:

http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopi ... highlight=

Let us know how it goes for you. There is always more for us to learn about this stuff.


Last edited by RickI on Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:15 am 
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Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Rick, thank you for your outstanding, educational observations on weather and safety! You're helping make the sport more safe and credible for everyone, keep it up!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 2:40 pm 
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Jackson Hank wrote:
Rick, thank you for your outstanding, educational observations on weather and safety! You're helping make the sport more safe and credible for everyone, keep it up!


Thanks! Global input on what folks are doing out there, new problems, trials, solutions and the like are all necessary in evolving this sport in positive directions. So, keep the flow of ideas going.

There are a lot of other ideas in illustrated articles in the column that Toby created a while back at the following link locations:

FKA COLUMN


Things like ...

Event recaps with lots of photos like Islamorada Invitational 2004

Accident Recaps with figures, aerials, etc. like "Kite Loop To Slam In"

OT Pieces like "Is That A Shark?

Accident experiences of prominent riders like "Pro Rider Lofted"

Travel Logs like "KITEBOARDING IN ANTIGUA! - Part I"

Movie and Video Reviews Like "Riding Giants"

and a few hundred other topics. It's all for you to checkout and talk over, thanks again to Toby for putting it together.

Have fun!


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