I said to my son as we watched the last dissipating cell Thursday evening: “If this had been June or July I wouldn’t even have considered chasing today. But since it’s mid-October and the chase season is almost over…”. Yes the setup was marginal, yes the instability (CAPE) was pitiful, and yes the dew points were in the 50’s, but the shear was incredible so if any storm could go up at all along the lee trough east of the Blue Ridge it would have rotated.
A line of updrafts did set up along the lee trough which I tracked as I headed eastward to Gretna VA and the U.S. Route 29 corridor. None of the tops were particularly high but one cell exhibited some interesting features just north of town so – after picking up my son – we headed northward to catch up with it. We stopped in the outskirts of the metropolis of Hurt to observe but by that time the cell of interest had fallen apart. Still encouraged by a broken line of radar returns streaming northward out of North Carolina we motored back south to Chatham and ventured westward along rural lanes to catch this glimpse of a storm that appeared to have a lowering under it as we approached.
By the time we arrived here – apparently just across the road from the Hargrave Military Academy’s football practice field – this cell too had wound down into nothingness.
Still not giving up we moved further west and south in an attempt to catch one of these training cells (each following the path of the previous one) before it could fall apart. We wound up west of Danville on Route 58 as this updraft approached and, again, dissipated as we watched.
Another line of updrafts had gone up about 30 miles east of us but they didn’t have much of a radar return and weren’t very tall. Thus, now faced with imminent darkness we chose to stay put and take some sunset photos of the area. A chase, but not an overly successful one.