I had decided the parameters weren’t going to lead to chaseable storms on Monday June 16th so of course a number of strong and severe cells fired, leaving me regretting my decision. Thus when similar parameters looked likely for Tuesday I made sure I chased… with good results. There was little or no predicted shear but when updrafts started rising they were definitely leaning over, indicating speed shear. In addition CAPE values were exceeding 3000 j/kg over much of my target area with little or no cap, so storms were likely.
I initially drove to Rocky Mount on a rolling reconnaissance, watching radar and keeping an eye on clouds. I pushed as far east as Penhook via Rte 40 before deciding to go after a couple of robust updrafts that had gone up to my west. Thus I moved back in that direction and turned south at Glade Hill to find a spot to stop and watch for a while.
Given their south-southeasterly movement I needed to drop south to stay in good position on them so I wound my way to and through the metropolis of Snow Creek on rural routes. But by the time I reached the Franklin/Henry county line both cells had weakened so I crossed the ridgeline to my west and wound up on Rte 220 south of Rocky Mount.
I noticed a strong cell crossing the Blue Ridge literally over the NWS Blacksburg radar site in Floyd county and stopped at a crossroads to regain situational awareness.
Realizing this storm was worth chasing I plunged westward across more ridgelines and wound up on Rte 40 west of Rocky Mount. Pushing past Ferrum I found a spot just west of town and set up a live stream of the storm’s base.
I sat there while the local television station did a first look at weather on the 5 pm broadcast and meanwhile noticed this lowering on the southwestern edge coming right at me:
I was a bit nervous about getting out of the chasemobile to take photos as the lightning had ramped up quite a bit on this storm. I didn’t stray far, believe me!
When the broadcast was done I pulled up stakes and moved west and south a bit, stopping just before the full weather broadcast. That actually situated me under the rain free base which was slowly rotating literally over my head:
I kept a close eye on this base but nothing appeared that concerned me and after the full weather segment was complete I wound my way back to Rte 220. There wasn’t much to see at this point but I did find a hilltop vantage point to live stream for the six o’clock weather lead-in while watching a small rain free base under another storm to my north. After that the convective activity ramped down quickly and I called it a chase.