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Both Monday 7/13 and Tuesday 7/14 look to be interesting weather days for the Mid-Atlantic, with chasing likely if early morning MCS passages don’t mess up the convective setup too much.

With that in mind I kept one eye on surface obs and radar today – Sunday 7/12 – just in case something materialized late this afternoon. Sure enough when I checked radar at 4 pm a line of storms was nearing the Roanoke and New River valleys from the west. After projecting the track of the northern edge I jumped in the chasemobile and motored to Burnt Chimney to observe. After wandering around a bit I stopped at a hilltop vantage point to watch, photograph, and live stream.

First storm from Burnt ChimneyThe northern edge showed a slight lowering underneath it that I was determined to keep an eye on. So when the precipitation approached I rolled north and west to find a drier vantage point. After a frantic search I stopped along a rural route 6 miles west of Westlake Corner and witnessed this wall cloud while live streaming:

First wall cloudI didn’t remain here long as the storm – and rain – was headed straight for me. I then retreated northeastward on VA Rte 122, crossing Smith Mountain Lake and pushing north thru Moneta looking for another vantage point.

At this point I noticed on radar that another – discrete – cell had gone up north of the main line segment. Determined to get a look at this storm I turned west on VA Rte 24 and finally stopped in the parking lot of Staunton River High School. Live streaming again I set up shop directly in the path of the notch between the newer cell and the north end of the line segment.

As part of my overall situational awareness I snapped this photo. Note the little “nub” poking downward under the rain free base just above the school building:

First look at lowering in Bedford co

I didn’t think much of it at the time. A few minutes later the convection weakened so I decided to call it a chase. After a couple of minutes of putting gear away I put the chasemobile into gear and pulled out of the parking lot onto the highway. I then immediately pulled back into the parking lot upon seeing this:

late wall cloud_2And a closer shot:

Late wall cloudThat little “nub” I’d seen 12 minutes prior to this photo turned into a wall cloud complete with visible striations even tho’ the radar depiction didn’t show any rotation. This was the reflectivity view five minutes after the above photograph:

IMG_2997 Obviously the cell was dissipating but there was enough shear to create a substantial wall cloud. That in itself was enough to make today’s chase worth it even if I hadn’t seen an earlier wall cloud.

It was a great prequel for the next couple of days!

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