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Old 12-16-2005, 08:59 AM
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Arrow Winter Riding Conditions in Florida

People often have questions about what will the conditions be like in ... or what is a good spot to go to ... and many other questions. There are a lot of considerations that can go into selection of a destination of Florida. Wind is a big one for us, the folks that ride but for family well ... you get the idea. So, you won't find everything that you need to consider in your selection in this single post. More info is coming on local shops, launches, etc.. Still over the entire site there is a great deal of useful info to consider particularly in the regional forums LOCATED HERE. Just pop in those key word searches and see what you can find out.





For fairly reliable marine forecasts, the NWS has it pretty well covered in my experience. It isn't perfect but that is why they are called forecasts.


Marine Forecasts

You would do well to checkout the regional pages as well for things like weather hazard alerts, radar and satellite imagery. NWS Regional Websites Timing the arrival of cold fronts and the time to launch can be dailed in pretty well with these aids. More about timing cold front winds CAN BE FOUND HERE and info about wind patterns in Florida in the winter CAN BE FOUND HERE


ikitesurf.com has constructed a ton of realtime weather stations all over the place in the USA and beyond. They have quite a few in Florida, along with their wind archive data provides a lot of valuable info for not only planning a kiteboarding trip but also when and where to ride once you arrive. Some of the services come with a paid membership which is cheap at the price, i.e. go for it!
ikitesurf

ikitesurf also has some powerful new tools including Windflow Viz which provides dynamic imagery of winds. It can be very helpful for estimating when the wind may turn on or off in your area.

Some averaged historical winds for a few of the many weather stations around the coast of Florida appear below. Remember these are AVERAGE data that is you can have well above and below the ranges indicated for a considerable time and portion of your trip. Also, they don't show direction which will swing clockwise as a rule with the passage of cold fronts. Westerly winds are generally good off the west coast and easterly winds off the east coast. On average stronger winds seem to come from the N to E to S much of the time however there are some epic cold front winds out of the NW to N ideal for the west coast. These plots provide limited indication of conditions, sometimes miles offshore from where you will be riding, nothing more. HINT - For more specific data be sure to visit the ikitesurf wind archives for a better idea.


St. Augustine, FL


Cape Caneral Wx Bouy off of Merritt Island/Cocoa Beach and 20 nm east of Florida. Winds are often 5 kt. or more here relative to closer to shore.


Fowry Rocks Light, 7 nm east of mainland Florida and just south of Miami. Winds are sometimes 3 to 5 kt. higher than closer to shore here.


Molasses Light, upper Florida Keys, about 5 miles offshore. Winds are sometimes 3 to 5 kt. higher here than closer to the Keys.


Sand Key about 5 miles offshore from Key West. Winds are sometimes 3 to 5 kts. higher here than closer to the Keys.


Venice in SW Florida.

The data varies up the western coast of Florida and apparently the handly graphical summaries haven't been prepared as for the other stations. There is the historical ikitesurf.com wind data for this area to look over.

Specific info and quite a few photos from past kiteboarding events around the state appear at: EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS

Wonder about water temperature? This is about what the current nearshore temperatures are:

From: http://www.weather.com/maps/activity...res_large.html
(Not sure how often they update these)

Want monthly averages? Here you go for the east coast: http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/satl.html

and for the west coast: http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/egof.html

How about air temperatures?
http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/ or


How to get there from here? MAPQUEST!
Anyway, that's a start, more to come.

Have a good trip!
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Last edited by RickI; 08-30-2009 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 01-06-2006, 01:59 AM
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Cold Fronts

Printed in SBC Kiteboard Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue #2, Spring 2005
http://www.sbcmedia.com/sites/kitebo...kiteboard.html






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Old 01-06-2006, 02:00 AM
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Cold Fronts

An EDITED version of the following was printed in SBC Kiteboard Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue #2, Spring 2005
http://www.sbcmedia.com/sites/kitebo...kiteboard.html

**The following unedited version is provided only to allow the reader to be able to use the links and refer to the figures.


From: http://www.ckkc.co.uk/

Cold fronts come with regularity throughout much of the year. They consist of a cooler air mass moving into and beneath a warmer air mass. The upward movement of the warm air at the leading edge of the front can generate a squall line as shown, around 50 to 200 miles ahead of the front. Squall lines have been stated to contain some of the most turbulent and violent weather known. Fronts can travel on average around 30 mph but can move as high as 60 mph over ground. In some areas squall warnings are sufficient reason for small craft to return to safe harbor.

Fronts can bring sudden strong gusty weather with or without squalls, wind shifts, lightening and more. Alternatively, the wind may just spike with a vengeance without storms (as shown in the wind plot below). Forecasts may or may not be accurate so it is important to stay aware of changing conditions.

Kiteboarders may be the only folks flying a parachute-like device the size of a station wagon as potentially strong forecast frontal winds move in that can capsize a boat!? Weather planning and monitoring are JUST as important in kiteboarding as they are to airplane pilots and blue water sailors. Know your weather, the forecast and developing conditions and react, EARLY. Accident experience has shown that when suddenly hit by overpowering winds, kiteboarders have frequently failed to successfully depower their kites.


From: http://www.ikitesurf.com/

Let say you rig up for conditions shown above prior to the arrival of the cold front. Ignore the time of the wind spike, fronts can strike 24 hours per day. This same front lofted four riders at about 9:30 am about 135 miles further south. You are on your 16 m kite riding 100 yards offshore and the frontal winds hit, suddenly. The wind boosts from 15 mph to 43 mph+. You are on a 16 m and unless you are unhooked and let go, chances are your butt is toast. The kite is now imparting at least 9 TIMES the power that it was just before everything hit the fan. You may be lofted, very high, dragged or both, faster than you can safety react.

If you drop your kite to leash successfully it is likely with many systems that the leash attachment may be ripped away from you and off goes your kite. If your leash attachment doesn't rip free, your kite may have enough residual power even though you have dropped it to leash in such a gust (mid 40 mph+), to drag you anyway.

Here are a few ideas on how to try to manage these conditions during cold fronts. You still may get caught and slammed, as can always happen if you have a traction kite up, but it should reduce the odds of a predicted event getting the better of you. There are similar sites and resources in other parts of the world and a tremendous amount of weather information out there. Learn what is available and reliable in your area.

1. Check forecasts on http://nws.noaa.gov/ (USA) and http://www.weatheroffice.com (Canada) for your area.

What are the predicted winds, gusts, direction and are storms expected? What does the weather map show in terms of cold fronts? (see http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/je...m/index_e.html). Check for WEATHER HAZARD WARNINGS for your area and points up weather from your location. Carefully consider the warning and accept that actual conditions may exceed predicted wind speeds and gust ranges. Is a cold front forecast, if so when is expected to arrive and with what change in conditions? Be sure to check the marine forecast if you are near the coast. What are temperatures likely to be? It may be fine now but do you need to be in a 4/3 mm wetsuit later on today? Cold fronts can bring a dramatic drop in air temperature. Read the weather analysis to better understand what is bringing the wind in the first place in your area. IMPORTANT: Kiteboarders have been flown into trouble by gusts less than 15 mph above background windspeed. It doesn’t have to spike to 60 mph for you to be injured. Not all weather events will carry warnings, with some being quite localized. It is up to kiteboarders to try to anticipate conditions even if there are no excessive wind warnings posted.

2. Checkout the Sat. imagery at: http://nws.noaa.gov/sat_tab.php (USA) and http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/sa...e/index_e.html (Canada).

Use the loop function if available to get a feeling for movement and obvious development. Click on your area to get a better picture of local activity. Is there a line of clouds (possible squall line), shown at the leading edge of the front?

3. Checkout color radar to look for CURRENT storm cells and direction of travel of clouds at: http://nws.noaa.gov/radar_tab.php (USA) and http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/radar/index_e.html (Canada).

Be sure to scope out your area and areas up stream through which the cold front is moving. See some bright colored stuff? Is it fairly narrow at the leading edge of the front (as in the case of a squall line) or is it spread around? Avoid the brightly colored stuff as it can represent violent storms. The green stuff can also punch out some gusts too, enough to loft you so don't get complacent about that color either. Relate what you are seeing to what appears on the Satellite image. More about more in depth radar interpretation appears on the above websites.

4. Checkout realtime winds at: http://www.ikitesurf.com/ and local websites

Look over your area and those areas that the front is or has recently passed over, ALWAYS. Look at the individual wind records for stations to see if there are some strong gust spikes and iratic direction changes such as shown above. Try to relate these unstable winds to what you saw in the satellite and radar images. Are you dealing with a narrow strip of unstable weather with a squall line or is it more of a sudden boost in wind with a dry front?

5. While you're at the beach, keep your eyes open for signs of the onset of frontal winds. ALWAYS be aware of the wind, clouds, lines of white caps, ripples, direction, gusts, etc., regardless of season. It will help you to get the better rides and perhaps avoid a bad go to.

AVOID having a kite up during the onset of a strong front with associated change in winds. This has been a common practice among mariners for a long time. Of course not all fronts are kick butt, so what kind do you KNOW FOR A FACT you have moving in? Who knows for sure, it is best to err on the side of caution. If you see signs of a front coming, advancing white water, cloud masses, a ripple line, etc. It might be good to land and secure until it is past. Of course with ripple and white water lines, by the time you see them you may have less than few minutes before the winds spike. ALSO, you may need to RIG DOWN to be able to ride once and if the frontal winds spike up.

Check this stuff before you ride, always. Learn to relate what you saw online vs. what developed at the beach to build your weather sense. Talk to local fishermen, sailors and other long time nautical types that pay attention to the weather to learn more about your local conditions.

Sounds complicated? Not really, you can blast through the steps listed above fairly rapidly. Most riders I know are wind junkies and knowing what brings the blow stuff is just another part of the obsession. So why not dive in and get a handle on what brings the joy and the dodgy bits that need to be avoided. Further information related to this article appears at: http://www.fksa.org/viewforum.php?f=91

Get plugged into weather where you ride. You will be glad you did. There is a lot to know to kiteboard, some of the stuff listed above is just part of it.


ADDITIONAL REFERNCES:

http://www.ckkc.co.uk/html/stories/metrolgy.html
http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=564
http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=477

**Analysis of the storm that resulted in the snow kiteboarder fatality at Alberta Beach
http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/en...torm/main.html
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Old 09-18-2006, 02:23 PM
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It's almost that time of year again. Hoping for some good fronts this year, soon! Be sure to plan for and AVOID the squall lines and areas of excessively gusty wind.
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:25 PM
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What fronts are inbound and how fast? Are there any wx hazards forecast (NOTE: often there are not even though they blow through for kiters anyway), checkout http://www.weather.gov/alerts/fl.html


Click the following for an animated weather map
http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/basicwx/day0-7loop.html


From: http://www.wunderground.com/


And radar


Click the following for an active version of the above Real Time wind speed chart
http://www.pdfamily.com/weather/buoy/FLbuoy.php
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:08 PM
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The "Florida In Summer" post just went down, so you know what that means? Yup, up goes the winter and WIND SEASON post! Yeeha!

We're still getting tropical system winds in the south, lots of days too with fairly easily dodged squalls fortunately. The northern part of the state has already been working a number of good cold fronts.

Have a good, safe riding season and remember the following. It doesn't take much time:

1. Check the best forecast for your area including wx hazards.
(like http://www.nws.noaa.gov/)

2. Check the national weather map loop to see if cold fronts or unstable systems are inbound. If so, how strong, how fast and when?
(http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/basicwx/day0-7loop.html)

3. Check color radar/satellite for inbound unstable weather. If so, how strong, how fast and when, what is the temperature drop? Waiting an hour or so can make all the difference sometimes, forewarned is forearmed.
(http://www.nws.noaa.gov/radar_tab.php , http://www.weather.gov/sat_tab.php?image=ir)
NOTE - the radar and sat. image maps above this should give current conditions.

4. Check realtime winds both locally and upweather or in the direction the system is coming from to time the passage of a cold front, possibly with a squall line or just a dry mega boost in wind. Is the wind rising, if so how much, are there spikes, is the direction changing or erratic indicative of squalls. Rig for actual conditions AFTER the stable wind, wind shifts come on and new temperatures. Try to make sure you aren't avoidably "surprised" by the wind boosting and shifting side offshore as others have in the past.
(http://www.ikitesurf.com/windAndWhere.iws?regionID=171 , http://ompl.marine.usf.edu/PORTS/tampa.bay.html )

5. Keep your eyes open at the beach. Sometimes you can see cold front wind lines creep toward you, both the good kind and the kind that may be too much for what you are flying. Watch out for storm clouds and avoid having a kite up when they approach.

You can time your cold front wind waiting down to about 30 minutes at times using this technique and be prepared with a better idea of what kite size to fly. Less time waiting and changing out kites/boards, more time riding?!

Think about trying this out and tell us how you do.
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Last edited by RickI; 11-03-2008 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:38 AM
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Time moves on and the wind season IS HERE! Back to the top with this one.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:41 PM
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Looks like the winter pattern is on again despite the tropical system moving over southern Florida currently. Bring on those nice cold fronts!
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