As it turned out I did chase today…couldn’t resist the sheer number of Severe Thunderstorm Watches issued. However I still had misgivings about the potential for smoke from Canadian wildfires interfering with storm intensity today. Even so I headed south to the VA Route 40 corridor east of Rocky Mount to gain position on convection that was already going up over the Blue Ridge mountains.

I anticipated these cells would grow and move east off the ridgeline so I set up in Glade Hill. But as it happened the convection hugged the mountains and never did move in my direction. Thus I did the moving, wandering along back roads south of Rocky Mount seeking a clear vantage point. After much frustration I finally found a spot off Rte 40 between Rocky Mount and Ferrum:

Lowering underneath storm N of Rocky MtThese cells were visibly dissipating as I watched and very few other storms were firing in Virginia (altho’ several nice cells were chugging across the Greensboro NC area). I briefly considered calling it a chase but I just couldn’t let it go. So I targeted some so-so convection moving north out of North Carolina and motored south to the Martinsville vicinity.

I pushed east of the city and then turned onto a rural route to – again – search for a vantage point from which I could view the convection. After more frustrating driving I finally found a hilltop construction site that provided an open view in the right direction. This was the radar view at the time:

IMG_2925The corresponding Mark 1 eyeball view was as seen in this photo:

Storm SE of Martinsville_2 As this line grew the rain filled in and I was forced to reposition, heading west back to the Rte 58 bypass around Martinsville before then turning east to get out of the precipitation. I pushed north of Axton to a vantage point I’d previously located with this view on radar:

IMG_2927Even tho’ the storm looked like it had a radar hook I saw nothing to verify that. This was the backside view of the storm a few minutes later:

northern cell near MartinsvilleMeanwhile I had set up the live stream to watch the next storm to the south of this one as it too tried to develop. It never really got going but it did provide a good backlit frame as I finally called off the chase:

Sunset storm E of MartinsvilleNone of these storms lasted very long or went severe, thus adding fuel to my conviction that the smoke was inhibiting their development. The severe stuff developed after dark which is why I’m typing this up under a Severe TS warning. Oh well…