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I was under absolutely no pressure today as there was little chance of severe weather. Shear was a non-factor and storm motions were almost at walking speed. However two factors convinced me to chase today anyway: relatively clear air (no haze) and plenty of CAPE.

I knew CAPE was present when I wandered out to a local park for a stroll and noticed towers building over the Blue Ridge…at 10:30 this morning! I dithered for a short time but finally rolled down the driveway before 1 pm heading for the Rte 40 corridor east of Rocky Mount.

To get there I had to punch thru the convective line dumping rain just east of the Blue Ridge crest. Fortunately U.S. Route 220 neatly divided two portions of the line so I was barely rained upon as I drove. I drove around a bit before stopping east of Glade Hill and switching on the live stream. This was one of the cells that passed left to right in front of me with the chasemobile aimed toward the southwest (this photo begged to be processed in sepia mode):

Storm approaching Glade HillDuring the half hour I live-streamed from this location I had a great pseudo-funnel example crop up several miles to my west. It was obviously scud but I photoed and videoed it anyway.

pseudo-funnel near Glade Hill

When the rain approached I retreated east to Union Hall where I watched for a while. I did see what was likely a small wall cloud well south of me but it didn’t last long and photos came out too fuzzy to show much. Another robust line went up south and east of me with the more distant bases near Martinsville:

Cell bldg near Martinsville

I had already decided I wasn’t going as far east as the Rte 29 corridor but I wanted to check out this line. Thus I motored to Penhook where I dropped south and then east to a point just across the Pittsylvania county line. Although the convection I was checking on had waned by this time I found a wonderful hilltop vantage point where I could see this storm near Gretna:
Cell near GretnaAt this point I basically called it a chase – unless I stumbled across something else worth observing – so I rolled northward toward Rte 40. I had to stop along the way to snap a second photo of the Gretna storm:

Second look at cell near Gretna

Did I mention there wasn’t much chance of severe weather today? Oh, but I enjoyed a thoroughly pleasant low key chase.

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