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The target out of the driveway early this afternoon was Rocky Mount, mainly as a staging area. When I got there a line of updrafts tempted me further so I headed to Glade Hill for a bit. I’d noticed on satellite a small cirrus shield that seemed to be moving away but it sat over Franklin county for quite a while. Thus these updrafts didn’t do much.

Since it was so hot I couldn’t sit in one spot so I conducted a rolling reconnaissance north to the Burnt Chimney Road (mainly to cool off via the a/c) and then back south to Union Hall. Storms were building just south of the Lexington area but the trajectory looked to take them east well north of Lynchburg. Meanwhile storms along the VA/NC line southwest of Martinsville were looking nice so I made a command decision to head in that direction.

As I rolled along I noticed the convection waning before I arrived in the Axton area. Apparently the cirrus shield also suppressed these storms so my jaunt through the Pittsylvania and Henry county countryside went for naught. I did have this view of the main updraft to the northwest of Lynchburg (~50 miles away):

Northern storm iPhone imageAfter dithering a bit I motored northward once again to intercept this building convection. The cirrus shield had moved south and east, allowing this northern activity to bubble. Reaching U.S. 29 at Chatham I zoomed northward at highway speeds before turning east at Gretna.

A few miles east of town I turned north toward the storms, finally stopping near the burg of Straightstone to evaluate. The stuff to my north and east was a wall of gray mush but the western activity had more definition. Thus I pushed back west to the vicinity of Hurt where I live streamed for the local 6 o’clock news.

Dropping south to clear the storm I maneuvered along back roads desperately searching for a vantage point. I finally came across one but had to back up into a driveway, something I don’t like to do. But since the leading edge of the now severe-warned storm wasn’t far away I knew I wouldn’t be there long.

The southern edge had a wall cloud-ish feature under it for a bit but by the time I found this spot and stopped it had morphed into part of a huge shelf cloud.

Southern end of storm

Another view looking further north along the shelf:


Then…it was time to run. The VIL signature on this storm didn’t entice me to conduct a static core punch:


So I scooted along more back roads, turning alternately east and south to get around the edge of the storm. While driving along I did stop – once – to snap a photo of the impending doom approaching as a green wall. (This was taken looking up from my window so the leading edge was closer than it looks here.)

Running from the Green WallI did make it to Gretna after barely skirting the southern edge of the storm. A couple other cells were approaching the town from the west but they proved to be of little concern. So after the rains diminished I called it a day and headed back home, glad that I hadn’t busted given the frustrating start to the chase.