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You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

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sarc
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You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby sarc » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:06 pm

We had a thunderstorm warning for inland (not coastal areas), I was out on quite irregular wind, oscillating 20 to 27 knots, then I saw this cloud forming over maybe 30 minutes - growing vertically upwards then sideways. Seemed pretty far out (maybe 30+Km) but I packed up anyway. Did I waste a hard-earned kiting day? Seems like a cumulus cloud, and I hear they can influence wind pretty far out - however nothing much happened (except strange little puff clouds flying very low near the beach - maybe 100 meters altitude. It was hot and humid). Any meterologist advice? When is a cumuls safe - when it's out of sight?? Thanxx
IMG0035A.jpg
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Richard
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby Richard » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:33 pm

In my area, thunderstorms often form about 20-30 miles from where I kite. Usually they don't affect my kiting. But sometimes they move closer to the beach and can either increase the wind or sometimes decrease it. I call it quits when one approaches, because lightning is very unpredictable.

So, whenever you see the anvil shape of a forming thunderstorm, it is smart to keep a close eye on it and take action if necessary.

Richard

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Wetstuff
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby Wetstuff » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:43 pm

Similar here Richard .. I can watch it blowup hard about five miles north of me. Typically, our stuff moves almost always West-to-East with little angle, so as long as I can see clear sky over the dune, I tend to stay out.. The problem is: lightning has a very long reach, and we all look a lot like Ben Franklin. You takes your chances...

j i m

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RickI
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby RickI » Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:07 pm

You did well to ask yourself these questions. Local weather behavior governs most considerations. It pays to closely observe and learn what weather systems bring good useable wind and the varieties to be avoided in your area. Where are you located? The cloud looks like a cumulonimbus (storm cloud) as near as I can tell from the photo. They can bring violent wind gust spikes & reversals, tornados, downbursts, etc. though not necessarily all the time. Observing clouds is only one part of necessary weather planning and monitoring for kitesurfing. There are more steps involved described below.

Regarding when to come in. That is something dictated by apparent conditions, experience, weather data and related factors. Things to remember, Cumulonimbus clouds can move at 60 mph or a mile a minute. At other times they move much more slowly. If you see one it could be on you in ten minutes perhaps less which makes hesitating fairly dangerous. Gust fronts can sweep out with violent winds miles ahead of the front as well. Sometimes you can see a line of white water moving towards you as the cloud advances. At other times things are less threatening. One thing is for sure, you never want to be TOO late in coming in. Lots of guys did that once too often in the past. So, it depends ... experience and good judgment are needed.

More ideas about weather planning and monitoring appear in the top few stickie threads at:

viewforum.php?f=131

p.s. - regarding lightning vs. storm winds,
kiter fatalities due to lightning = zero to my knowledge
kiter fatalities due to storm winds = several dozen
Last edited by RickI on Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom183
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby Tom183 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:26 pm

It's never a mistake to pack it in if you're not sure - and it's always a mistake to push your luck.

Local knowledge helps a lot - knowing what track those storms tend to follow and how close they will get. Even better is up-to-date data from weather agencies showing actual developments and storm tracks.

My personal rule is to be off the water before the storm gets within 20-30 miles - lightning can strike that far from a cloud (rare, but it happens), and a storm can cover that distance in a half-hour or less. I don't want my kites blowing all over the beach, and I definitely don't want to be hooked in to them in those conditions.

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randykato
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby randykato » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:12 pm

Another thing to remember is that even if the storm is developing downwind of you, that doesn't mean it's blowing away from you. It's usually the opposite. All that wind is feeding it and it's moving toward you, growing in size and power.

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naishkiter10882
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby naishkiter10882 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:15 pm

take a break when you see a dark cumulus cloud or shellf cloud..cuz they could hit a really hard gust with hail and thunderstorms.. in one of my threads i came in right on time before a 60 mph gust came in.

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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby Toby » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:49 pm

if bad weather and strong gusts are forecasted, keep an eye on the sky.
If you see something like this coming, be very aware of the area and the wind developments...if you see whitecaps coming, release or get asap to the beach. Don't be too late! If you are too late, ratehr kite further away from shore to be able to ride the gusts and to have space to release.
Very experienced: ride it, anyone less experienced: release BEFORE the squall hits.

And if you are out, and suddenly the kites stall from the sky, be aware the wind will shift and nuke a minute later...so release before it hits!

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naishkiter10882
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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby naishkiter10882 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:11 am

I experienced a situation involving what toby said.. right when the wind shifts dump ur kite or land it w.e but the gust comes any second after the shift.. make sure ur in when you see the dark clouds though..

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Re: You are kiting and you see these clouds: what do you do?

Postby RickI » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:18 am

Lots of guys have died in squalls, why we still think it is ok to ride in them is beyond me. Must be like using board leashes. Most of them had quite a bit of experience. With flat kites the ability to substantially depower, IF it works properly AND depowers enough could make a huge difference. Thing is most mechanisms and line systems fail over time if you even react properly in time. In the old days, traditional C kite fliers were well and truly screwed with major storm gusts unless they successfully emergency depowered their kites. People often failed to do this.

Distance can help in a squall lofting, maybe, but what if that distance is vertical? It can very easily happen that way with traditional C kites. With flat kites there seems to be a tendency toward terminal looping. I recall guys have looped over several kilometers with flat kites and in the process expiring. The distance didn't help them unfortunately.

Kiters have no business not understanding local weather and acting with reasonable care. Weather planning and monitoring info has been out for many years for kiting backed up by a long list of accidents. It is akin to flying cross country without weather briefing or monitoring during the flight. People won't believe this, but then again, a percentage will be lost in violent weather.

rant over, until the next time anyway

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