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A very busy chase afternoon started after the Storm Prediction Center issued a Mesoscale Discussion for my chase region.


I headed down the driveway after a nice cell had fired over Bedford county moving east-southeast. I gritted my teeth and ignored it while I drove south toward Rocky Mount even as the storm went severe-warned. My thought was that staying south of this cell would pay off and it eventually did.

Rolling east on Rte 40 I saw a wall cloud under a storm near Ferrum that wasn’t yet warned. To get a better view I dove south at Glade Hill, eventually finding a spot from which I could watch the storm for a bit.

First wall cloud

This was the velocity view on radar at the time:

IMG_2729 (1)

I live-streamed from this spot for the 5 o’clock news, knowing the storm’s trajectory would require me to vault east and south to keep ahead of the rain. Thus after the news was over I pulled up stakes and headed east along rural routes to reposition.

As I motored toward the hamlet of Sago I crossed a ridgeline that afforded me a view of not one but two storms with wall clouds underneath. The storm I was chasing was to my southwest:

Wall cloud under Ferrum storm

And this was a closeup of the wall cloud underneath it:

Closeup of wall cloud near Oak Level

But I could also see the rear flank of a severe-warned storm crossing Smith Mountain Lake to the north with a wall cloud underneath it as well.

Wall cloud under SML storm

As “my” cell continued eastward I jumped back in the chasemobile and continued to a spot where I could live stream for the six o’clock news. Two cells approached my location and – fortunately – I was in a seam between the two. This was the southern storm:

Later wall cloud

That cell eventually bowed out, exhibiting a bit of greenage that I captured in a photo:

Greenage on bowing storm

This storm exhibited rotation both on radar and visually.

I could have continued ahead of these storms but decided to let them go as a large squall line was forming. I thus extricated myself and headed back north to Rte 40 and points west for dinner. However more cells were firing (likely along a stationary front) so I diverted to watch a couple of them. This was the final cell I observed south of Glade Hill (again!) with a dissipating lowering underneath it:

Final storm near Oak LevelVery busy but productive late afternoon and evening! (And as I type this yet another storm is trudging its way across our area.)