I thought I had a decent chance at an encore to yesterday’s chase but such was not to be. After looking at the short range models, real-time parameters (3000+ SBCAPE), and reading the NWS Blacksburg forecast discussion – which referred to a likely 2 pm convective initiation – I felt decently optimistic about today. A warning sign was a relatively brisk westerly surface wind that simultaneously raised my hopes for low level shear but also made me consider the possible downslope stabilizing effects. But another positive sign was that the convective updrafts were leaning due to upper level shear that didn’t seem to appear on the models.
I motored to Rocky Mount where I stopped in a local fast food restaurant at 2 pm to get something cool to drink and use their Wifi to monitor radar and conditions. I accomplished the former before I found out that their Wifi was not working so the latter was out of the question. After 30 minutes or so I opted to head back out to find a shady spot in which to await the action. Unfortunately the shade didn’t help much in today’s mid-90s temperatures so I left there and rolled northeastward to Burnt Chimney to take a peek at things from that open perspective.
I noticed two things in BC: I had to keep the car on with the a/c running full blast to stay remotely comfortable and the convective towers were beginning to struggle mightily. The radar was also looking very empty of reflectivity within a couple of hours of my location. (Apparently upper level temperatures had warmed a bit more than everyone anticipated, thus capping off convection.) After 20 or so hot minutes there I scurried back southward via rural roads to the Wirtz area on Rte 220 and found relief inside another fast food restaurant whose internet also didn’t work. This time, however, I planned ahead and brought my own Wifi hotspot inside with me so I could monitor radar.
Given a continued lack of close range activity and given that the nearest cells were still 3 hours away at 4:30 pm I called it a chase and rolled homeward. Now at 7:30 pm some storms have finally fired in my targeted area along outflow boundaries from previous convection in North Carolina.