This Saturday before Mother’s Day I wasn’t planning to chase but I took my gear with me anyway. After a family visit in northern sections of Virginia I headed south on Rte 15 with an eye on the radar. I noticed a robust discrete storm approaching Danville out of North Carolina and aimed the chasemobile to intercept. Continuing south of I-64 on U.S. 15 I had hopes of catching this cell which became severe warned, but it turned right and headed almost due east just north of the state line.
When I realized I had no hope of catching that storm unless I was willing to go all the way to Chase City (ironic name) I re-targeted when I reached Dillwyn. A short line segment was moving northeast from Lynchburg so I turned west on U.S. 60 and caught this view of the southern end of the line just west of Buckingham:
As the rain shaft approached I dove southwest on Rte 24 and skirted the worst of the heavy stuff as I rolled toward Appomattox. More discrete storms were firing south of Martinsville and I wanted to get that direction quickly so I motored west on U.S. 460 and then southwest again until I reached U.S. 29 at Evington, south of Lynchburg.
At this point another line segment coming across the Blue Ridge mountains southwest of Lynchburg began looking quite robust while the cells further south were coalescing into a larger rainy mess. Thus I targeted the southern end of this new line and wound up on a hill above Altavista. The radar-indicated VIL (vertically integrated liquid) hinted that this storm could be producing hail. When I looked around my target spot I noted a car wash nearby so I felt comfortable with conducting a “static core punch” after pulling the chasemobile into an empty bay.
I never did see or hear any hail but the wind gusted to about 30-35 kts as the rain pounded down around me for ten minutes. After the cell passed I pulled out of my temporary shelter and headed down the road toward home.