Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am Posts: 8315 Location: Florida
The following was originally posted at: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2363871
A kiteboarder of several years experience in local conditions, and years of windsurfing before that, CHOSE to launch into a very violent supercell storm minutes away.
- He was reportedly riding a 5 year old 12 m C kite
- Winds were building steadily as the green squall cloud rushed in at about 55 mph
- Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were widely issued with concerns about 60 to 70 mph winds, golf ball sized hail (almost 2 inch) and lightening. Tornado watches had been issued related to the squall line. This is "Tornado Alley" and most residents are more aware and concerned about weather threats with very good cause.
Just after launch to the left, storm to the right
- Microbursts and squalls sometimes but not always preceded by lulls, as happened in this case. The winds died and his kite dropped to the water. He apparently dropped his kite to the leash in the lull. The sudden lull may have saved the kiters life. Winds subsequently boosted to a reported 70 mph from reports on shore. Heavy rain and perhaps hail followed. His kite leash broke under the wind load sending the kite off to another part of the lake. The kiter pelted by hail, swam in to shore on the other side of the lake. Water was 44 F with the air over 70 F due to a dramatic rise.
- Videos shot of the rider from shore (top) and a poor one from his helmet (bottom) appear below.
This was on radar for days approaching the area. This was just around the time of the microburst near the "X."
This front and the violence of the leading edge was more than obvious on National Radar, for days before.
Under some circumstances it might be concluded this person might have been intending to commit suicide. Outwardly, this doesn't appear to be the case.
Who in their right mind, living with such violent local weather hazards, destruction of large areas for years would want to go kiting in such a system? Add to this all the abundant warnings, high wind estimates, large hail and visible lightening. There isn't a small enough kite to take out in this stuff of any type.
Microbursts can send out "straight line" winds on the order of 60 to 160 mph over a small area of about 2 miles in diameter. Microbursts occur widely geographically.
This same system, did this in a closely adjoining area;
and ripped down this brick building wall and roof in a nearby state;
Microbursts have also done:
and a great deal more including crashing several commercial jets with loss of life.
I am intentionally avoiding identifying the location of this near fatality, aka incident. The irresponsible acts of one misguided individual shouldn't cost access to other kiters. Still, kiters should be aware of acts like this and the many reasons to work hard never to be in this sort of situation.
Many kiters have been killed and many more severely injured in winds far less than this. Going out minutes before a squall cloud appearing like it drifted out of hell is foolish in the extreme. YOU HAVE NO IDEA what the wind is going to do, die, boost to 150 mph or a mere 50 to 80 mph, stall your kite, wrap lines around your neck, arms, relaunch and slice or strangle you as you ski across the water, etc.. The kite easily could have rained line down on this guy when it stalled as in other cases. Lots of variations that could and have happened already. There is no kite in existence to that can handle this conditions, kiter either. Add in 44 F water, lightening, large hail (anyone up for getting pelted in the head with high speed 2" ice balls from 40,000 ft.?) while other riders sensibly sat this one out? I understand he was told not to go out but chose to anyway. Hope they don't lose access over this. I also hope the rider, comes down to earth and learns how close he came to checking out in a lousy minutes long session, permanently.
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