The June 20th chase was so prolific that I’m just linking to that writeup here: June 20 chase account
What follows covers the rest of June.
June 25th: My most prolific 2015 chase was followed immediately by my most frustrating chase of the season (go figure). A cold pool ahead of an advancing MCS was forecast to collide with a warm front and a lee trough over the Piedmont, creating what the SPC labeled as a 5% probability of tornados. I had a lunch meeting in Charlottesville so once that was finished I rolled south to the Rte 460 corridor at Appomattox. The best parameters seemed to lay north of 460 and east of the mountains so I figured to be in a good position there.
Two very nice discrete storms did blow up that afternoon, one of which went up 50 miles to the northeast over Buckingham county and headed for the Richmond metro area. The other one went up 40 miles south of me and grew into a massive severe-warned supercell with tops approaching 60,000 feet. I dismissed the northern cell as it was moving into unfriendly chase territory and went after the southern storm. Unfortunately as supercells are wont to do this one turned right and accelerated to the south-southeast, directly away from me.
I tried desperately to stay east of it and dive south along rural roads in Pittsylvania and Halifax counties but was unsuccessful as the storm actually moved south faster than I could safely travel. I wound up pushing all the way east to South Boston and then speeding south into North Carolina before I caught a glimpse of the business end:
I then had to be careful maneuvering in North Carolina as other storms were firing and I had already observed a wall cloud under a cell steaming east from Roxboro. I pulled away from this supercell and threaded the needle between these two as I moved back north along Rte 501:
Note the TBSS (three body scatter spike) hail signature on the storm just to my west on this view…something I was determined to avoid at all costs. I didn’t want to replace a windshield on the chasemobile!
The good news on this frustrating afternoon was that my son chased this same storm separately but was in much better position. He started out on Rte 29 and managed to stay near the business end, obtaining some great photos and provided needed storm report to both the National Weather Service and the local TV station. It is likely that I would have had better luck diverting west to the Rte 29 corridor as well and using the highway speeds to catch up with this supercell. Instead I chose the eastern route and suffered the consequences.
June 27th: Two days later I had a chance to redeem my chaser’s self image when a warm front, cold front, lots of shear and moisture, and clearing skies all added up to another opportunity. I picked up my son for a Saturday chase and we motored south thru Henry county to a point east of Martinsville to watch and wait. A storm showing rotation on radar went up just south of the Virginia state line so we moseyed east to the North Carolina visitor center on Rte 29 to check it out.
Not finding a good enough vantage point there we scooted eastward and wound up back in Virginia just east of Danville at a hilltop cemetery across Rte 58 from the airport. This was the view looking westward across Danville, complete with rotating wall cloud:
We stayed ahead of this cell by leapfrogging east a couple of times. When it weakened we rolled westward to intercept more storms coming from that direction. However we had a tough time finding an open vantage point from which to watch this now severe warned activity. We wound up heading south into North Carolina as the complex gusted out and formed a large shelf cloud.
Finally stopping in Yanceyville we watched and filmed as this storm approached:
After it passed by we grabbed a late dinner before heading back to our respective homes.
June 30th: The last chase of the month was on the last day of the month, appropriately. I had doubts about the setup mainly because smoke from Canadian wildfires looked like it might enter the picture and interfere with solar heating. I may have been right as convection didn’t seem to sustain itself this day like I thought it should.
I started out east of Rocky Mount along Rte 40 to catch any cells that were forming along the Blue Ridge. But when this activity didn’t move off the ridgelines I gave in and headed southwest on Rte 40, stopping between Rocky Mount and Ferrum to observe one cell over the mountains with a lowering under it:
This activity weakened visibly but I wasn’t ready to call it a chase yet so I continued on to the Martinsville vicinity to check out some weak cells coming out of North Carolina. After a frustrating jaunt on back roads east of Martinsville I finally found a spot to stop literally underneath a line and watch for a while.
As this line moved north it strengthened a bit so I rolled to a point near Axton and stopped to watch this storm, which had a nice radar signature that included both a hook-like structure and a TBSS hail signature:
However neither this cell nor any of the trailing activity actually went severe, further fueling my suspicion that smoke from the wildfires was suppressing convective development.