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Driving south on U.S. Route 29 from Tightsqueeze my eyes were drawn to another updraft going up over Danville. It appeared to be the southern cell in a flanking line that marched right up to storm #1 as it continued to steam eastward. I thus dismissed a dinner stop in Blairs and motored quickly south to U.S. Route 58 where I turned east.

In need of a bathroom stop and thinking of a quick to-go meal I stopped at a fast food restaurant literally across the highway from the Danville airport. When I stepped out of the chasemobile I spied this (storm #3):Storm_3 east of Danville airport

Realizing that I needed to get back out on the road to chase this cell I hit the restroom and decided not to wait in a rather slow line to order food. When I walked back outside storm #3 had this appearance:Storm_3 east of Danville airport view2

Wheeling my way eastward on Route 58 I made my way to the VA Route 62 exit toward Milton NC and dove southeast. Just outside the town limits I pulled over basically underneath the mesocyclone…not smart but the best I could do given visibilities. I snapped a few photos while watching this rear flank downdraft (RFD) punch down the backside of the storm:Storm_3 RFD over Milton NC

This was the radar velocity and reflectivity radar scan at that time:

Keep in mind Milton is ~68 miles from the KFCX radar and the beam height is over 5000 feet at this point. Shortly thereafter this storm also received its own severe warning.

Sufficiently intrigued I followed storm #3 further into North Carolina, paralleling its southern edge safely away from the large hail falling 3-4 miles north of me. I was hoping for some “6 o’clock magic” – storm chasers understand – so I kept up with the storm all the way to Roxboro NC.

There I decided to stop the chase and turn around for home. I found a hilltop vantage point and snapped this final photo of the updraft and mesocyclone base:Storm_3 approaching Roxboro NC

A very potent hail shaft was set to cross my north route (U.S. Route 501) so I simply retraced my steps back thru Milton and then to Danville VA where I finally stopped for dinner. I also stopped the live stream feed here after having had it on for most of the past several hours.

Whew! No tornados, but I don’t chase just to see them. Given the structures I’d seen I considered it a great chase!

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