RickI wrote:We need to assume cumulousnimbus and shelf clouds have the potential to kick our butts and react defensively and early on too to land and secure. It is less clear when strong winds will be present and when they won't simply by looking at the clouds.
That's the truth - you'll know more by looking at several forecasts before heading out, and be safer if you assume the worst when something pops up.
Of course, ignorance is bliss, so if you don't care, then don't check the weather, just wait for the gusts to hit and then edge like a mo-fo.
Slightly off-topic - for storm fronts, I use this website in the US: http://aviationweather.gov/products/ncwf/
It doesn't help on those days when the air is ripe for storms and they can "brew up" anywhere (it only shows what is already happening), but it will show you weather fronts that have a lot of turbulence and what their track and speed are. If the wind is good but a storm front is off in the distance, you can use this site to get a fairly good idea of when the front will hit and how long you can ride and still be off the water well before it arrives. It can also be used to determine if a front is just rain (and possibly ridable) or if it may have knock-down gusts.