Thanks Alex and for your input!
Speaking directly to the question of pre-frontal squalls, there is no reason not to be expecting the front and squall line well before your rig up, even days before potentially. In the USA, it takes about five days for fronts and squall lines to pass from west to east across the country. You never really know in the case of Florida, what may come five days later other than something may or may not barrel through. With each successive day you have a better idea. The best idea of all comes hours before the front arrives. By checking:
1. Marine and hazard forecasts, how much wind, directions and changes, temperature changes, violent weather risk, etc..
2. Weather or frontal map in loop you get a feel for what is coming and how fast.
3. Color radar and satellite imagery helps you get a better feel for what is coming, from what direction, how fast approximately and when it might be in your area.
4. Real time winds, same thing again, how much wind change, critically direction change, squalls implied by violent direction changes or a 90 degree swing and wind spikes or no potentially.
Examples from the last week in Florida are embedded above in this post.
It takes about five minutes or less to look at this stuff before you ride. You should have a good idea if a front will likely cross your area during your session, whether there is a squall line likely or a "dry front" with no squalls but perhaps with a 3 x wind boost and direction change and roughly when. You should have an advanced idea if it may be unsafe to be on the water as it passes, weather rigging down will be needed or if the wind will shift offshore. If you are waiting for rideable winds with the front, it can save you annoying wind waiting at the beach, you can time the arrival to the half hour at times. The thing is fronts can stall, speed up, dissipate or grown stronger while you are out, sometimes but not always. There is usually NO good excuse to be caught very much by surprise by fronts will all the resources available to us. I have placed some resources in one location for parts of Florida, an example for SE Florida at: http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=6734
Riders should always be aware of weather conditions around them. Are there clouds moving in, threatening or not? Wind lines, white water from upweather, water spouts (we get plenty in these and in other waters), funnel clouds, stuff of interest to a kiter in short. Detect it, act early as indicated. Would you fly a plane or sail a boat into harms way without knowing this stuff? The same applies to kiting well supported by myriad accidents and incidents.
If you are out and you see threatening weather move in, analyze the threat, make a plan and act on it with haste. You want to be on the beach and secured BEFORE there is any significant change in wind speed, direction, temperature or threatening clouds come very close at all. These systems can move very fast, a mile a minute. Meaning you may have ten minutes or perhaps only a few minutes or less to act if you are caught off guard.
If you still have a kite up, can't land in time, I would suggest Emergency Depowering your kite as appropriate for whatever you are flying. With BOW kites usually** that means bringing it low to the side of the window and pushing the bar out to depower. If you can effectively flag your kite DO IT. Some BOWs loop if flagged. Knowledge and experience with YOUR system in advance is essential. Be ready to release your leash attachment if your kite maintains or develops power through looping etc.. You should have strong swimming skills and be wearing an impact vest so staying afloat shouldn't be a big concern. Fronts can shift winds violently offshore sending you away from land, like the one in this example. Getting back to shore under your own power may be a problem if you drift very far, are injured or become hypothermic. Riding with others, letting someone know your float plan on shore and having emergency signally gear, at least a whistle may be about all that is left to you. There are lots of variations in the accident and incident record, some real bad ones too.
You have REALLY screwed up if you find yourself in this position as the outcome can be uncertain. It is important to have good ideas about what to do in a crisis like this but the real priority in practice should be avoiding ever falling into it. It isn't that hard to avoid in my experience. It doesn't take that much effort to avoid high wind emergencies/squalls if you prepare properly for your kite sessions, where fronts are concerned anyway.
Different knowledge but similar procedures apply in weather planning for tropical systems. Thermal or convective/sea breeze squalls are somewhat similar but can happen much faster. There are regional hazardous weather conditions in different parts of the world that may have similarities and dissimilarities to this. Input on the threats and what works in your area would be much appreciated.
** The kiter in the video in Bimini
did the opposite MASHING his bar up through the Recoil spring and slowly bringing his kite to the zenith apparently even more effectively killing the power. IF he hadn't mashed the bar up with such force from examples shown in the same video, he likely would have been lofted badly. We never really did properly discuss this. With most kites, I would never bring the kite to the zenith regardless in an high wind emergency. With the Cabrinha, I am still undecided.
tautologies wrote:I think it is another great post!!
How would you fare if you are already out riding? I mean looking at the spike in the wind, and the extreme direction change, there is not many wind reports that would suggest such extreme changes?
Though I am probably one of the people that are getting more "used" conditions, there has been times where I chose to not go out, but sometimes it might be hard to properly estimate what are the more extreme clouds. In the winter we can get these pretty bad looking clouds, but they are normally not as bad, so people tend to try to get, or ride them out...but every now and then (rarly) they can be pretty viscous, which makes it pretty hard to judge.
Let's say you are doing a downwinder and you see something like that approaching? What do you do?