I should hasten to say that one should never say “never”…but it looks like the 2012 storm chase season is fading fast here in the Old Dominion. The last few opportunities have been marginal at best with weak instability even tho’ the wind shear was impressive for a couple of events. I have been a bit picky over which setups may be worth going after since storms that form east of the mountains over the Piedmont are generally headed away from home base. I’m not wild about winding up 2-3 hours from home after a marginal setup fizzles.
However, two things I’m trying to keep firmly in mind:
(1) During previous chase seasons in northern Virginia I have intercepted some pretty cool storms under marginal setups, like this lone “mothership” supercell that wasn’t expected by either the Storm Prediction Center or the local NWS forecast office:
|16 July 2009 “Mothership” and wall cloud in Caroline County|
(2) My typical “give-up-the-ghost” date for chasing isn’t until Veterans’ Day in November, which is about the time a strong cold front punching southward meets the last autumn airmass juicy enough to create a convective clash.
|15 November 2008 wall cloud, King George County|
Thus, the 2012 chase season is not officially finished yet. It’s just looking pretty bleak at the moment.