Today was supposed to be the best chasing conditions in several weeks, given a surface low crossing Virginia and plenty of wind shear, moisture, and a frontal approach. So what happened? Overcast from an earlier mesoscale convective system (MCS) blotted out the sun and eliminated enough instability to prevent severe weather.
Ever the optimist I began watching the radar picture around lunchtime, finally convincing myself that a cell on the leading edge of a large rain area was worth chasing. I rolled down the driveway at 2:45 pm toward Bowling Green to intercept this storm but never made it to my original target. I motored down Virginia Route 2 keeping one eye on the radar and noticed the leading edge cell was developing northward as well as eastward, so to intercept the better convection I made a U-turn just north of Bowling Green and headed northward.
After a couple of fits and starts I realized that I wasn’t going to see much in the enveloping gray mush so I continued northward in an attempt to catch a solitary cell developing ahead of the main area. Approaching Corbin this updraft to the north caught my eye:
There was no visible lightning or rotation but it did look like it could develop into something interesting, so I continued northward to New Post in order to dart southeastward on U.S. Route 17.
By that time the cell had become rain-wrapped and invisible but I spied another updraft to the northeast and gave chase south of the Rappahannock River on Rte. 17. This storm had an interesting base with all kinds of funky scud underneath:
Just to the left of this scud was another rain-wrapped feature that I was really interested in but couldn’t see very well. None of my photos or videos caught any detail either, and by the time I finally crossed the Rappahannock northward on the U.S. Route 301 bridge several cells had coalesced over King George county and the bases were no longer visible in the heavy rain. No warnings, no rotation, and only a little lightning and thunder…but it was a chase!

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