On the last day of meteorological summer a short wave over the Ohio Valley sparked an MCS that rolled southward into Kentucky and West Virginia. At the same time a weak warm front was progressing eastward across southern West Virginia, a remnant of a cold front that had moved south of the Old Dominion two days earlier. The MCS pushed out an outflow boundary that initially fired convection across western Virginia and when these slow-moving cells entered Botetourt county I left home to begin the chase.
After some back and forth jockeying that involved both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Rte. 460 I wound up at a hilltop school in Montvale for almost half an hour watching two cells crest the Blue Ridge. The northern one exhibited a lowering that I couldn’t quite make out as a wall cloud but the surface wind was at my back as I watched it (i.e. there was inflow into the storm):
As the rain from the southern cell moseyed in my direction I consulted the map and decided to drift eastward and dive south along county roads to stay ahead of the storm and hopefully see some of the rotation that radar was indicating. I thought I’d made a mistake when the southbound road I chose turned out to be gravel but it eventually changed into a paved lane so I motored south and westward to Chamblissburg where I caught sight of a wall cloud under the southern storm:
As this storm developed further an apparent RFD cut opened up behind the area where I’d seen the wall cloud:
When the leading edge of the rain neared I retreated eastward along Rte 24 to its intersection with Rte 43, stopping a couple of times to observe. I stopped for good in eastern Bedford county to watch the now-growing squall line approach, complete with rotation at a junction in the line (where the outflow boundary met the warm front?) that almost went overhead my position:
Now essentially boxed in by the growing line and an unhelpful road network I pulled back out on the road and punched westward and northward through the rain to head home. Good chase!