I didn’t expect yesterday’s chase until the SPC came out with their Day 2 convective forecast showing our region under a slight risk. The models really converged at the last minute and the local forecast texts even sounded good for both instability and shear, so I picked up my son at 1100 and headed west to the Culpeper area. We arrived at 1200 at our favorite rural viewing spot at the edge of a corn field and settled in to watch and wait. Little did we know that the SPC had issued a Mesoscale Discussion (MD) just about the time we left, but we found that out just before we heard my trusty weather radio blare the announcement that our entire region was under a tornado watch. We stayed put for 45 minutes as an oncoming line developed, and then we retreated eastward as the rain approached. Stopping once in extreme eastern Culpeper county to snap a couple of photos we continued on to a fast food joint at Wilderness to hit the bathroom and grab some chow. As we exited the facility the approaching rainshaft was literally a couple hundred yards to our west, so we boogied eastward on VA Route 3 to stay dry. Given the afternoon traffic we knew we’d have to pass through Fredericksburg traffic to get east of the city and give us room to position ourselves, so we didn’t stop again until we were in eastern Stafford county. We parked again to observe and watch as a wallcloud formed just behind the line:

This feature developed and fell apart several times as it flew northward just west of us, but there was already another wallcloud coming our way borne out by both visual and doppler radar evidence (radar view shows our position with the “X” and the rotation circled):

As the rain approached we drove east a few miles into King George county, where the “magic hands” appeared (my son being lazy and not getting out of the chasemobile):
We let the main rain shaft pass by – mainly north of us – and then headed back west as I had dinner guests coming and needed to get home. While driving back toward Fredericksburg I had a “Look at that!” moment and pulled off the road back in eastern Stafford county to watch the rotating wallcloud which is shown in yesterday’s post. After I arrived home at 1530 I dumped off the following doppler radar view which shows that, yes indeed, we were watching a rotating feature.
I was sorely tempted to keep chasing, but I did need to get home. There were never any tornado warnings or reports yesterday, but a non-chaser friend who lives in King George county confirmed that he too saw rotation. All in all it was a great way to (probably) cap off the 2008 chase season.

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