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Avoid being caught on your paddle board in a raging thunderstorm.

typical afternoon thunderstorms

With temperatures in the mid 90s and humidity near 100%, summers can be brutal. Being on the water is the best place to be for sure. The wind coming off the ocean makes for a cool and refreshing breeze along the shore. At the same time these conditions serve as a breeding ground for afternoon thunderstorms.

Some of these thunder storms can generate some nasty winds and lightning. I have seen conditions go from a light southeast breeze to a 20 mph west wind and major chop. And, we were at least 3 miles from the storm cell. When these storms pop up the last place you want to be is on the water on a paddle board, especially as beginner.

SUP safety

These storms can be hard to predict. Just standing on the shore trying to predict the weather is not a good idea. While I always err on the safe side when I have clients, the go, no-go decision can be tricky without some timely information.

to paddle or not to paddle...

To assist me in making this decision I use an app called RadarCast. The app provides radar storm activity for the prior 2 hours and a 30 minute forecast. Check out the screen shot on the right (a typical June day in Florida).

Using the app I am able to zoom in on my exact location and zoom out to see the overall movement of the storm cells. Combined, I use the app and what I am seeing standing on the shore to make the go, no-go call.

As a paddler, it is important to keep an eye to the sky when planning your day on the water especially in the summer. With a smart phone and the RadarCast app you can have critical and timely information at your fingertips. Use it to make the safe decision. Just make sure you protect your phone in a waterproof iPhone case, 20 L dry bag or deck bag.

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