A tropical airmass ahead of a strong cold front led to an early round of downpours followed later by a sunset shelf cloud. The chase started from Gretna where we were visiting family. I slipped south toward Chatham, stopping along the Climax Road to snap this photo looking west toward the mountains:
Continuing south from here I rolled west on VA 57 and then southeast toward Danville on VA 41, stopping occasionally to eyeball the building convection and compare it to radar trends. The overall complex stalled southwest of Martinsville and the cells I could see were run-of-the-mill showers with some lightning tossed in. Thus I called it a chase early and headed back to Gretna.
After dinner we motored back toward Roanoke and arrived just as the frontal convection entered the western sections of the valley at sunset. My wife snapped a number of photos and these are a couple of the best, showing the coloring and the shelf cloud structure:
As I type this a great lightning show is occurring outdoors. Given that this may be one of the last chases of the season I’ll take it!!
***UPDATE 10:15 pm: I neglected to give my wife photo credit for the bottom two photos. I was driving so she snapped a bunch of pictures with my phone.***