There was so much action – and so many photos – on the Thursday April 28th storm chase that I decided to break the writeup into three sections, one for each storm I chased.
I left home before 12:30 to head south to Rocky Mount and then east toward Gretna to position myself in an area where instability was growing just west of the wedge front draped across Virginia. I did stop in Glade Hill for a looksee but continued east along VA Route 40 to Gretna.
Watching radar, checking surface observations, and listening to weather radio I stood around the chasemobile in Gretna for 20-30 minutes. Suddenly I realized the surface wind had swapped around to come from the east and the temperature dropped, meaning the wedge front has pushed past my location. Thus I pulled up stakes and headed back west on Rte 40 to check out a couple of updrafts near Rocky Mount.
At Union Hall I realized the southern cell was growing and looking good so I dropped south to get below the storm, winding up on a gravel road(!) for a while until I eventually reached Snow Creek Road. At the intersection with Sago Road I could see the storm and realized I was just south of the precipitation shaft so I pushed another mile south and pulled over to live stream and watch. From here I caught my first glimpse of a wall cloud:
This was the radar reflectivity at the time with my location at the blue circle:
I let the wall cloud get within a couple miles of me – the storm motion was ~15 mph – I headed back to Sago Road and egressed eastward. I got ahead of the storm at this point but it was still coming directly at me with a decent hail signature.
Continuing along Sago Road I stopped a couple more times for photos before reaching the intersection with VA Route 57 at Callands where I pulled into the volunteer Fire Department parking to see this coming at me:
I still needed to head south to get out the storm’s path so I used the highway speeds on Rte 57 to do so. Finally reaching a spot where I could observe the storm pass by just north of me I witnessed this view:
The wall cloud now showed definite greenage while the hail shaft remained north of it (thankfully!). From this location I looked back over my left shoulder and could see the next storm behind it approaching also with lowerings underneath the rain-free base. But more on that storm later…
When storm #1 continued east I managed to parallel it just south of its path for quite a while using rural roads. This was the next view I had of the wall cloud:
And this was the radar reflectivity near this time:
As the storm steamed eastward toward Chatham I was able to catch one more clear glimpse of the wall cloud before I lost sight of it amid the rain.
After this I wound my way amid the heavy rain into the Tightsqueeze vicinity and found a shortcut to U.S. Route 29. There I hesitated, wanting to continue following this monster storm eastward but knowing there was another cell coming up behind it that looked decent on radar. For reasons still unclear to me I pulled off storm #1 at this point and doubled back to watch the next one.