The SPC had our area listed under a 5% chance of severe weather Monday August 1st with high winds the main threat. When storms began firing and moving southeast I took notice of a complex northwest of Culpeper and ignored a juicier set of cells traversing the DC suburbs (to my later chagrin). Thus my target was Culpeper and I left the driveway just before 4:00 pm to motor in that direction.
The original line that was visible as I drove west – complete with discrete bases and rain shafts – collapsed before I could get to it but another cell built behind it just east of the mountains. As this storm grew and others fired near and around it I videoed, photoed, and then hop-skotched east and south ahead of it to keep an eye on it. I stopped on a ridge top just off U.S. Route 522 to catch this view.
Lightning was flashing from several cells, and the rain foot evident in the right hand storm in the photo was an indication of strong outflow winds.
I kept moving south along Route 522, stopping several times to watch the cells – several with radar-indicated hail markers – coalesce into a line while marching toward me. At one vantage point I noticed a feature that acted and looked suspiciously like a very small wall cloud, with abundant CG’s raining down from and around it.
I finally chose to let the line catch me near Ware’s Crossroads so I could head back toward home on Virginia Route 208 through the Lake Anna area. As I did so I adjusted the scale on my radar view and noticed two very nice severe-warned cells pounding King George county about 20 minutes from my home. Yep, those were an outgrowth of the previous storm complex that had traversed the DC suburbs before diving south and east. If I had waited a couple more hours I could have chased in my back yard…