daft wrote:Not very ominous looking IIRC, although I wouldn't kite downwind of it. That cloud isn't "growing" sideways so much as being decapitated by strong winds above (but still not very high). It is shearing off it's growth into a mature storm by thwarting major vertical circulation. It's just too narrow, shallow, and isolated by blue dry air to look like some proto nimbo-frankenstein, although worth keeping an eye on trends.
It's true that dangerous stormclouds can take that anvil shape, but they tend to be darker, wider and above all have higher tops. The anvil shape represents their limits of growth, not a portent of more growth. A possible exception is pre-tornado clouds which have a strange process of converting that shear into a rolling horizontal vortex which then turns vertical, but not likely from an isolated puff of white.
RickI wrote:Oceanplay called and filled in some more details. We owe him special thanks for posting his experiences on here. Nothing like a real life example to sharpen the critical importance of something in people's minds.
The incident happened between 3:30 and 4 pm. He was on a 10 m flat kite. The wind had risen, flattened out the waves somewhat has they rode north on the downwinder in strong SSE winds. Suddenly he saw a white wall rushing towards him from the south and it was on him before he knew it. Visibility plummeted to where he could barely see his kite 25 yards away, the wind roared like a freight train and his kite spun crazily with explosive changes in wind direction. He was holding the bar out and panic at bay, thinking mechanically about what he needed to do. He wasn't lofted but was expecting to be as he was dragged around. He guessed the squall was on him for about five minutes but it could have been less you lose sense of time in such cases.
I think he saw the approaching gust front of a supercell storm cloud. It was blasting ocean spray (almost like oceanplay, funny?) up into a wall before the rapidly advancing squall. He mentioned the radical wind direction changes.
Such changes could shower a kiter with falling line, allow the kite to relaunch and get cheese sliced, dragged/lofted into whatever without anyway to depower or simply be drowned as has sadly happened in the recent past in tragic fatal accidents in Spain, Hungary and the Ukraine. You can't know in advance what will happen in a squall.
In looking at real time wind graphs these direction changes are a give away of squall activity such as shown below:
You look for these conditions upweather and work hard to AVOID THEM.
Pretend all that dust is actually water. Do you really want to try to ride through one of these with a kite up?
Lastly, squalls occur WORLDWIDE. Kiters have been killed and injured in squalls/storms in many sections of the USA, Europe, Asia, Oceania, etc.. This is far from a Florida problem. Weather planning and monitoring make good sense. More about this in the first several posts at: http://www.kiteforum.com/viewforum.php?f=131 , in particular http://www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=131&t=2323430
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