It took a lot longer than I realized it would to select, edit, and post these pictures. I had a hard time choosing the ones I wanted from the several dozen snapshots I took during yesterday’s chase of a shelf cloud near sunset. The coloration was awesome, and even these edited pictures don’t do it justice. Anyway when I finally burst into a viewing position in southeastern Fauquier county the shelf cloud was literally filled the horizon (photo 1, photo 2), with condensation “fingers” dipping down just to the west of my position (photo 3). As the storm plodded majestically eastward the sunset-colored shelf cloud approached my position and then passed over me with cold wind gusts tugging at the jacket I had actually remembered to bring (photo 4, photo 5, photo 6, photo 7). As the cloudline approached me I watched as the leading edge sucked up scud as it neared my position (photo 8, photo 9). With the rainshaft literally 60 seconds from me I finally pulled up stakes and headed southeastward to another viewing location just south of the rainshaft. While I was there I saw a “pseudofunnel” on the leading edge of the storm that I would bet some folks thought was a real funnel…it wasn’t. Leaving there I continued southeastward through varying amounts of rain until I just had to stop and snap several shots of the gorgeous cloud coloring from the very low sun angle just before sunset. Finally reaching U.S. Route 1 I turned south to head for home and immediately became interested in what appeared to be a rotating updraft on the rear of the overall storm complex. Plowing through yet more back roads I found another viewing location just before full dark and snapped more photos of a likely mesocyclone signature. (The latter photo has been heavily edited to compensate for the almost total darkness at this point.) As I stated in yesterday’s post there was no rotation evident on the one radar view I checked; however in a different doppler velocity view at the beginning of this post the circled area shows at least some rotation to provide evidence I wasn’t dreaming this up. At any rate this was a great chase for photos of cloud structure and coloration!

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