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July 8th: A B-U-S-T. Period. Didn’t even take any photos on an unfruitful jaunt thru Martinsville and Chatham.

July 12th: This was actually a prequel to some more promising setups the next couple of days. However it is always good to keep an eye on things the day or two before such setups and such was the case this Sunday. A line of storms materialized on radar during the late afternoon so I rolled down the driveway and headed to Burnt Chimney in Franklin county to take a peek at the northern edge. The line was steaming northeastward and I decided to push in that direction to keep an eye on a lowering underneath one cell.

Finally discovering a vantage point a bit north and west of Rte 122 I watched this wall cloud approach while I live-streamed video:second wall cloud cropped

I didn’t hang out long here since the storm was heading right at me. I retreated north and east along Rte 122 to a point north of Moneta. I then noticed that a discrete cell had gone up ahead of the line and diverted west on Rte 24 to the parking lot of Staunton River High School to observe. This vantage point put me in the notch between the new cell and the line segment so I watched for a while.

When this convection weakened both visibly and on radar I got out of the chasemobile, turned my back on the storm, and began stowing my chase gear in preparation to head home. I climbed back in, cranked the engine, turned out onto Rte 24 and immediately pulled back into the parking lot when I witnessed this feature:Late wall cloud

The storm looked anemic on radar but this lowering had obvious striations, had cloud tags feeding into it (from the right in this view), and was located under a rain free base. Thus…I reported a wall cloud to the NWS via social media. Someone there disagreed with my labelling this a wall cloud but it fit all the parameters except for not being readily visible on radar depictions. Obviously there was enough shear to create low level rotation (perhaps below the beam height of the radar?)

July 13th: I had hoped to chase storms east of the mountains firing ahead of an oncoming MCS this day but such was not to be. Convection didn’t begin there until 5 pm and by that time I’d decided I didn’t want to go that far east and then drive home into the teeth of an MCS with a history of downing trees and creating power outages. Thus I stayed in the Roanoke valley and live-streamed the MCS approach from a local park.

The complex pushed out a nice shelf cloud ahead of it with this being one of the more impressive photos (taken from my yard):

leading edge over house

All in all not a bad local “chase.”

July 14th: I undertook the next in the series of July chases under similar conditions to those the day before. A squall line looked to push across the region from the west near sunset and I had hopes of intercepting storms ahead of it. So I took up position near Glade Hill on Rte 40 in Franklin county at 4 pm to watch and wait…and wait…and wait.

Despite robust instability and shear values every updraft I watched fell apart quickly. To add insult to injury skies to the east of me were completely clear. Checking conditions I realized that 700 mb temperatures were too high, meaning the cap was likely too stout to break. Noticing that these temperatures were somewhat lower to the north I hoofed it to Bedford where I ate a somewhat leisurely dinner while awaiting some chaseable activity.

Finally after 6:30 pm (six o’clock magic strikes again!) some robust convection fired over the Blue Ridge and I scooted to a position west of Forest VA to intercept it. This wall cloud began forming just east of the mountains:wall cloud over playground

I followed this storm east a bit into the town of Forest where I stopped to check on the progress of the aforementioned squall line. I realized that if I wanted to get home ahead of it I needed to pull away from this storm that was now headed toward the city and suburbs of Lynchburg. Regretfully I left the storm to drop south to Rte 460 and headed west toward the barn.

However, as I cruised westward I came to an open vista from which I could see the “Tail End Charlie” cell on a developing line and screeched to a stop along a highway pull off. I could see two separate updrafts both with lowerings underneath them. Switching on the live-stream video I began furiously snapping photos of this now severe-warned storm. This is what I saw from a straight line distance of roughly 30 miles:Building wall cloud under Madison Heights storm

This activity was moving east away from me, it was already near dusk, and I had an oncoming squall line to contend with so I reluctantly let it go. (I did make it home just as the rain and wind from the squall line hit.)

July 21st: Marginal instability and shear values didn’t dissuade me from chasing this late July day. After grabbing some lunch in Gretna I rolled south to Chatham along Rte 29 to observe some building convection. Switching on the live stream I watched for a while as it grew into a short line segment. When the rain approached I retreated south to the Blairs vicinity.

From there I noticed a lowering under the southern edge. Since the segment was traveling east-southeast I moved across Rte 29 to stay ahead of it. At this location northeast of Danville I witnessed the beginnings of a shelf cloud as the storm started gusting out:shelf cloud NE of Danville

I maneuvered my way south and east along rural routes until reaching Rte 58 east of Danville at Turbeville. Trying to stay out of the wind and rain I wound up retreating south across the state line into North Carolina. I found a quiet rural road that afforded a view of more building convection while staying just south of the rain. This was a nicely sculpted rain-free base on the southern edge of the storm:sculpted rain free base E of Danville

After this storm and its accompanying heavy rain shaft eased by I motored back north to Rte 58 and headed west toward Danville. However more convection popped up west of this line segment. After driving thru one cell I stopped at a hilltop location to watch and live-stream more cells as they rolled across Danville. It wound up being a nice afternoon chase and I arrived home in time for dinner, somewhat unusual for a chase day!!

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