Given the heat and humidity outdoors I looked forward to spending Saturday afternoon inside editing and posting video from past chases and did just that. Upon finishing that effort I crawled into “my” chair in the family room and briefly dozed off, awakening around 5:00 p.m. to a sudden cessation of sunlight from the anvil cloud of a storm to the west. Stumbling into the office I checked radar, found said storm to be the right-hand cell of a splitting system (sound familiar?) with both a hail signature and indications of rotation, and became fully awake as I ran around the house gathering chase paraphernalia before heading off to intercept the slowly moving cell. As I tumbled into the car I called my son to check his interest and w0und up picking him up before vectoring northwest on U.S. Route 17. We found a quiet spot off a county road in western Stafford county where we parked and watched as the cell drifted slowly left-to-right across our field of view with an apparently rotating small base to the south of the rain shaft.We could see other towers building in the distance, but we didn’t want to succumb to the chaser’s nightmare of leaving one storm for another only to have the first one explode into furious activity so we hung around. Our vantage point gave us a cool view of the overall updraft
but other than some great CG / thunder couplets we didn’t see anything else before this storm dissipated. Meanwhile my son spied an impressive storm east of Orange via his cellphone internet connection and we gambled on making it there before dark, but the back (dirt) roads of southwestern Fauquier county defeated our best navigation efforts and we wound up southeast of Culpeper willing a couple of nearby storms to grow to no avail. With sunset not far off and grumbling stomachs we grabbed some dinner in Culpeper and headed back east on Route 3 only to catch a neat view of the sunset backlighting an impressive updraft over the Blue Ridge Mountains. It wasn’t the most productive chase, but it was certainly enjoyable.

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