I’m giving in to the year end propensity to post some “best/most of” photos from 2015 Virginia storm chases.
First, this photo represents the most active chase of the year:
This was from the June 20th chase of remnants from tropical storm Bill. I observed/intercepted six separate storms without leaving the confines of Pittsylvania county.
Next, the storm feature most underrated at the time:
On Sept. 12th I had chased this storm east from the Route 29 corridor north of Danville where I had briefly seen a wall cloud before it gusted out to a shelf. Staying ahead of the storm to this point in rural Halifax county I stopped and evaluated this lowering as a scud cloud. However, this was the radar velocity view at the time:
The vague signs of rotation are there but note that this is approximately 70 miles from the radar site with the radar horizon >5500 feet. I now believe I witnessed this storm cycling back up and dropping a funnel.
Next comes the most disputed storm feature that I saw July 12th. I had followed a storm north and east from Burnt Chimney to the parking lot of Staunton River High School on VA Route 24. When it faded visually this was the radar reflectivity view:
I turned my back on the storm and packed up my gear before getting in the chasemobile and pulling out on the highway. I immediately turned back into the parking lot when I saw this:
The striations indicating rotation were very clear (as well as the cloud tags feeding into the feature from the right) so I sent in a wall cloud report to the local NWS office. Someone there took exception to the report and disputed it on social media. Sorry, it was a wall cloud despite what radar showed. Believe me it took me by surprise too!!
And finally the best photograph I recorded during Virginia chasing in 2015:
This was at the end of the April 10th chase just east of Farmville while parked along U.S. Route 15 north of Route 460.
So what will the 2016 chase season bring? Will the local tornado drought be broken? Wait and see…