View Single Post
Old 08-19-2008, 08:00 PM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
Site Admin
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,690

Originally Posted by RickI View Post
Here's a much shorter version of Weather Planning & Monitoring. You really should read and consider the longer version as well.

1. Kiters should check forecasts including hazard warnings, realtime winds (in the area and upweather), color radar and satellite imagery to assess the odds of storms impacting a session. What are the wind speeds and current trends upweather?

Visit the following post and other weather sites to see what is going on:

Weather Resources For ...
(there are posts like this for each portion of Florida on this site)

Are current conditions useable? Are forecast and actual winds suitable for your experience and gear? What are other kiters on and how are they doing and does that jive with inbound conditions? Are good conditions inbound, if so roughly when? Are current good conditions to go into the dumpster? If so, again, roughly when? Is there a cold front coming, does it have a violent squall line or just a big boost in wind speed? Has the cold front shifted winds upweather if so what will that do to conditions at your launch, i.e. shift wind offshore? If so, how bad and roughly when? Use your head to figure out when the odds for a session are better, waste less time and frustration wind waiting! You can time the arrival of cold fronts at times to the half hour using these aids. If you expect a change for the better or worse, be on the lookout for it. In tropical weather season with fast changes the norm, having a person onshore monitoring wind, radar imagery and ready to call kiters in is done in a number of areas.

2. If visible squalls are inbound and/or show up in radar/satellite imagery, kiters should be on the beach with their kites secured, ideally put away before winds change direction, speed or the temperature drops. Runaway kites have done damage in past squalls. ACT EARLY particularly if in doubt. So many accidents happened after guys were just a few seconds too late. You never want to be the last one in.

3. AVOID SQUALLS, NEVER PLAN TO RIDE THROUGH THEM. If squalls are all over the place with a tropical system or afternoon thermals with no adequate clear holes of useable stable conditions, blow off kiting. Are the holes between squalls large and stable enough to allow as session or is it too risky? Squalls can move faster than a mile a minute and can vomit gales of wind many miles ahead of the squall line. Make sure you have an adequate buffer between you and the hazardous weather. Squalls will sometimes kill the wind for a short time and then cast down massive winds shortly after. Don't be lulled into rigging bigger or even going out. Often enough they pass by quickly. Sit out the dodgy bits and enjoy the good parts.

4. Do not try to ride out a squall with a kite up. If you are too late to land, totally Emergency Depower your kite EARLY before gusty winds arrive, don't wait as seconds may count. Regularly practice Emergency Depowering physically and mentally to combat the likelihood of failing to react quickly in an emergency.

NOTE: You may be able to ride out some squalls by keeping your kite low and plastered to the surface using major bar pressure. You may be dragged in this process. Some squalls will pluck you off the water or land despite this and slam you into whatever to live, be severely injured or die. You never know how strong the winds will be in advance. Kill the kite power totally EARLY.

5. Be ready to set your kite completely free if it fails to properly depower without delay.

6. Wear proper safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, hook knife, gloves, etc..

7. Jump to help kiters with landing particularly if unstable weather is inbound. Seconds and good communication can count for a lot.

Some riders get a second chance and some aren't as fortunate. Is a questionable session worth the possible destruction of your kite, loss of income from work for several months, painful and costly rehabilitation, permanent impairment, perhaps paralysis, loss of access for yourself and friends and perhaps your death? Is any session worth taking away access from other kiters at your launch through an avoidable accident or incident?
You can apply these simple steps with the aid of the weather planning posts in the various forums for SE/Keys, SW, Tampa Bay, NW and NE Florida such as at:

SE Florida and the Keys

Tampa Bay

SW Florida

NW Florida

NE Florida

Why wind wait for frontal winds when you can guess the ETA, sometimes within a half hour?
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 09-19-2009 at 03:40 PM.
Reply With Quote