SPC Day 1 convective outlook had the Northern Virginia region in a Slight Risk for severe weather with a small but significant tornado probability this afternoon due mainly to wind shear profiles and upper level cooling. Surface instability was very weak due to overcast left over from the morning’s rainfall, so the approaching cold front was the only forcing mechanism available to push updrafts. We left at 1300 for Culpeper where we sat and watched conditions and radar returns until almost 14oo when we turned first northward on Rte 29 to follow a developing line…that is until my son caught a glimpse of a stronger section to our south, so we cut cross country to catch Rte 522 southward. We jumped ahead of the eastward-moving line and took the above picture (matched to the corresponding radar return with an “X” for our location), winding up at Wares Crossroads – again – where we turned north on Rte 208 and proceeded to get caught in heavy rain thanks to the obliging but unhelpful Virginia rural road network. We may have seen a shelf cloud or two, but we never saw any other specific features nor any lightning. Not exactly a bust, but not the most productive chase we’ve ever had either.

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