This first day of meteorological summer much of Virginia was under a SPC-designated Marginal Risk but I wasn’t really excited about it. CAPE values were substantial but the 0-6 km shear values were in the single digits with no cap. Prognosis: popup storms that would quickly rain themselves out.
And that’s exactly what transpired. I was already in Gretna on family business so it was a simple choice to stay along the Rte 29 corridor. I first pushed north to almost Lynchburg before reversing course to intercept storms coming north out of North Carolina. On my way south a strong storm hugging the Blue Ridge to my west went severe warned so, of course, I had to divert to check it out.
There was a bit of a lowering under the rain free base as well as a small shelf cloud ahead of the rain shaft. Other than than no significant features were visible so I pulled off this storm and continued south to the Danville vicinity.
Stopping on the slopes of White Oak Mountain I studied radar and waffled as to what storms to follow. I was tempted to roll east of Danville to catch a complex coming north but decided instead to stick with cells popping up along and west of Rte 29. After stopping along the highway to watch a storm near Chatham other cells further west caught my attention.
Driving thru the countryside on rural roads I maneuvered my way to Penhook where I live-streamed one storm during the 5 o’clock news for the local TV channel. Following the broadcast I continued west as more storms bubbled up close to the mountains. I never saw anything of true interest so I headed home, only to be blocked by a squall line with embedded hail cores.
After a brief halt on the southern side of the valley I pushed thru some very heavy rain on the way home but didn’t run into any hail. My mantra for the day? Chasing popup storms = playing whack-a-mole at the county fair…not my favorite thing to do.