It’s refreshing to see how a night’s sleep can help wash away the frustrations of a chase. Yesterday was worse than a clear sky bust.
Yesterday – June 25th – a solitary discrete supercell developed east of the Blue Ridge mountains over Franklin county during the late afternoon. It was an awesome storm with tops over 60,000 ft and jaw-dropping structure. Unfortunately I was out of position when this cell went up.
After a lunch meeting in Charlottesville I rolled south to Appomattox where I set up shop awaiting late afternoon / early evening convection that was indicated on the models. It seemed the best parameters all lay east of the U.S. Route 29 corridor and north of U.S. Route 460, hence my initial location.
I did notice convection along what looked like the lee trough east of the mountains and that indeed is where cells fired earlier than the short range models showed. Unfortunately I was in “no-man’s-land” between them. One nice supercell went up north of Buckingham (50 miles northeast of me) and then the Franklin county storm blew up 40 miles to my southwest. Realizing I was out of position on both storms I desperately dove south to get ahead of the southern one since the one to the north was heading toward the Richmond metro area.
Unfortunately – as supercells are wont to do – this storm turned right, heading southeast and accelerating away from me. Despite my best efforts leapfrogging down U.S. Route 501 and parallel back roads I could not get into position. I thought I could get to VA Rte 360 west of Halifax ahead of the storm and then maneuver southward but I was 15 minutes too late. Thus I was forced to drop all the way thru South Boston into North Carolina before getting my first real glimpse of the business end still to my west:
Continuing southward I managed to stop for perhaps 3 minutes to watch the storm before bailing to stay out of the monster hail shaft headed directly toward me:
With more storms firing in NC I had to be careful as I had also seen a wall cloud under a storm near Roxboro. I finally pulled back north on Rte 501 just north of that municipality to thread the needle between the two cells:
Note the TBSS hail spike just south of my position on this radar graphic. I managed to stay out of that mess and skirt the rain shaft as I motored back north, patently disgusted after my 2 1/2 hour mostly fruitless jaunt southward.
It was extremely frustrating for me to miss out on this awesome Virginia supercell but my teeth-grinding was mitigated as my son wound up in excellent position on the storm for quite a while and snapped a number of great photos. He was interviewed by the local TV station about his chase. He kept the family chasing tradition alive and well yesterday!!
Hey, there’s always gonna be another storm!