With a cold front pressing southward today held at least a modicum of potential with CAPEs near 1000 and 0-6 km shear values over 30 kts. Thus I combed through the models looking for timing clues, watched radar, and eyeballed updrafts all around me. I wound up rolling down the driveway at 1:45 pm heading east to locate myself along the lee trough.
Stopping first in Glade Hill on Rte 40 I concluded that I wasn’t far enough east. I continued to Gretna, all the while watching updraft towers for clues of further development. I paused in Gretna to await the activity and eventually took note of a complex of strong storms diving southeast toward Appomattox. Given my location I couldn’t reach those cells in time to avoid a tail chase so I chose option “B”, which was to intercept smaller cells growing on the western end of the line.
I thus motored northward on Rte 29 to Yellow Branch before deciding to intercept a cell with radar-indicated rotation that was moving southeast from near Bedford. After casting about the countryside west of 29 I found an open area but never could see underneath the storm’s base due to both treelines and haze. I backtracked toward Rte 29 before rechecking radar to find yet another storm with indicated rotation moving into Bedford county from the west. Swapping ends I returned westward and jumped onto Rte 24, punching underneath the base of the first storm without seeing anything other than rain (not even lightning).
Finally reaching the hamlet of Gillespie in Bedford county I swung onto a rural road and pulled onto the edge of a farm field that provided an open view to the northwest. This was the first iPhone photo I took from this position: