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A cold front looks to trigger storms across the Old Dominion Monday (8/24) afternoon as shown in this very hopeful 4 km NAM forecast graphic for 5 pm:

NAM 4km at 5pm Mon

All indications are that the surface low shown over northern VA will provide better deep-layer shear up that way than further south. Thus any severe storms in my chase zone would most likely be warned for severe outflow winds. I’ll take what I can get given the waning days of the 2015 chase season. Of course that doesn’t take any potential tropical system enhancements into account. (A chaser can only hope…)

Meanwhile upon looking back at my chase logs I did find a late August chase that intercepted a hail storm. On Aug 25th 2011 I went out to chase a cold front approaching Culpeper county from the west. Alas, the storms crossed the Blue Ridge already queued up in a squall line (vs. discrete cells east of the mountains) so I witnessed a typical late summer shelf cloud.

However as I maneuvered along back roads near the hamlet of Lignum I caught a glimpse of a suspicious lowering just to my west:


My interest in this featured ratcheted up considerably when I noticed CG’s (cloud-to-ground lightning) raining down all around it. Then as I got a bit too close to the lowering – thanks to the winding back roads – a large and very slushy hailstone smacked into the windshield. It was impossible to tell how large it had been but the splatter pattern on the windshield was at least 3 inches in diameter.

Other smaller hailstones peppered the chasemobile as I continued the chase. It was rather unusual to see hail that late in the summer…but it was a welcome distraction from the strong earthquake that had rocked the region two days earlier!!