I wasn’t really fired up about today’s setup and thus took a while before deciding to head out. Today was very similar to yesterday with decent instability but no shear and no cap. The only difference was that I was intrigued by the proximity of a weak cold front to the convection. The presence of this ready-made shear zone convinced me to give chase.
The lack of a cap induced convection to start in earnest along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge in Franklin county by 1 pm. Thus I motored north and east to Bedford to get ahead of the activity. After a brief stop there to check radar I turned south on Rte 122, diverting westward briefly to check out a storm base to the west.
Noticing on radar that a persistent cell near Rocky Mount exhibited broad rotation I pushed south of Smith Mountain Lake to check it out. I wound at a fortuitous rural vantage point just south of Union Hall where I wound up pausing for well over an hour to watch and live stream.
I had seen evidence of a wall cloud on my way south from Smith Mountain Lake but by the time I stopped it had dissipated. This was a nice quiet spot from which to observe the slowly moving storm (2 vehicles passed by during the 90 minutes I was there). I kept the live stream up for the 5 o’clock weather on the local TV station.
When this convection waned I pulled up stakes and headed home. Reaching the southern edge of the Roanoke metro I diverted off Rte 220 to stop and observe a storm looming over the valley. My first view hinted strongly at a wall cloud on the southern flank with a shelf cloud pushing east from the rain shaft:
As the storm grew the shelf cloud became more obvious:
My final leg home was once again thru a very heavy rain shaft punctuated by a brief spatter of small hail. The cell dumped enough rain to cause NWS Blacksburg to issue a Flash Flood Warning with rain rates well over an inch per hour.