I had a feeling today might be productive even though the probabilities of severity were low…and both factors were in play today. I headed out at 1:00 pm to establish position east of the Blue Ridge but the convection fired even earlier, meaning I was – again – out of position and in a tail chase of a developing situation. I really wanted to chase a cell that was heading southeastward toward the Danville area but there was no way for me to maneuver into position without core punching the severe-warned storm. Fortunately the next updraft north of that one was in my sights as I sped eastward and I managed to chase it from Gretna into the Southside Virginia hinterlands, keeping an eye on a flat base that tried to develop a wall cloud before I lost it among the woeful road network.
With a peek at radar showing a new line of storms charging eastward across the Roanoke Valley I turned back in that direction, stopping in Rocky Mount to review the situation. While I was there another updraft went up just north of me ahead of the line, and within two radar sweeps it had a hail marker on it. I circumnavigated this storm which stalled in the Burnt Chimney area:
It became very pesky after a while, not moving much but sustaining a robust rain core that inhibited visibility of the oncoming line. I did find a spot south of town from which I watched the southern end of the line fizzle as it crossed the mountains.
I didn’t despair at this weakening because the section of the line approaching Bedford was still vigorous, so I rolled northeastward past the Smith Mountain Lake area and set up on the south side of Moneta to watch my fourth storm of the afternoon as it pushed out a shelf cloud ahead of it.
Sitting there as the line approached afforded me the opportunity to stretch my legs and totally enjoy the view as the lightning flashed and the thunder grumbled not far north of my position. While I was there I noticed this cloud formation and wondered if I had just identified my first asperatus clouds.
All in all it was a very enjoyable chase afternoon!