Cold fronts in Tampa Bay begin around October and go through March or April. The temperature varies depending on the strength and time of year of the cold front. For kiteboarding, the important aspect about cold fronts is that they bring wind to the Tampa Bay area. This article will break down the winds relative to cold fronts in the Tampa Bay area.
Cold Fronts and When There Is Wind
Cold fronts bring wind to the Tampa Bay area. The best winds associated with a cold front can be before the front comes through and after the front passes. Avoid the day when a cold front passes through. It may look windy according to wind apps such as iKitesurf, but there are often storms associated with the passing of the front. These storms should be avoided at all costs. Gusty winds and a complete wind direction change can and will occur. It will be extremely dangerous to kiteboard in these conditions. Wait until the days after a front passes to kiteboard in the best and safest conditions.
Warm Southerly Winds
Not all cold fronts bring warm southerly winds, but many do! These winds tend to be under-forecasted. Southerly winds can begin two to three days before the cold front comes. As the front gets closer, the winds will increase until the storms associated with the beginning of the front come. The best times for southerly winds in the Tampa Bay area tend to be from mid morning through early afternoon.
Cool Northerly Winds
Behind the front are cooler, northerly winds. The more “north” the gustier the conditions for kiteboarding are. NNE winds tend to be shadowed by Saint Petersburg and are lighter and gustier at the east side of the Skyway. The ideal wind directions after a front are either a NW or NE wind. Depending on the front, there could be one to four days of wind after the front passes.
Cold Fronts and Wind Strength
Expect an average of 14-17kts of wind associated with cold fronts for the Tampa Bay area. Stronger conditions are possible with stronger fronts. The strongest winds will be immediately before and after the front passes. These conditions could be 20-25 kts or stronger. No matter how tempting it is to go kiteboarding in the “strongest” wind conditions, do not do it. If the strongest wind also shows a quick change in wind direction, that signifies the beginning of the front. The beginning of the front also brings strong thunderstorms that would be terrible to kiteboard in. Wait until the storms pass and the wind is stable and consistent to practice kiteboarding.
Cold Front Temperatures
Temperatures associated with cold fronts in Tampa Bay can vary. The important takeaway is that temperatures before the cold front are warm and humid. After the cold front temperatures are cooler and dry. Temperatures can vary based upon the time of day. Below is a chart of the average temperature per month in St. Petersburg.
Water temperatures can drastically vary since the waters are shallow. With shallow waters they can fluctuate from morning to afternoon. Regardless of temperatures, during the winter months we provide wetsuits for lessons if needed.
How To Spot Cold Fronts
The key to spotting a cold front is to look for temperature changes. We use the 7-day forecast on Baynews 9 to look for temperature variations. When you do see a temperature change, cross reference it with iKitesurf’s forecast models. There should be a correlation between temperature changes and wind.