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When all the attention is focused on a juicy setup like Sunday June 5th you can almost always count on a decent chase the day prior. That describes today perfectly as a warm front retreated north and an upper level disturbance helped fire storms in the very juicy air south of the boundary.

Leaving home at 1:00 pm my initial target was the town of Bedford where I paused for a few minutes to check radar. I had noticed radar echoes over Franklin county heading northeast before leaving home and I decided to chase that complex. It had the rotational couplet shown below near North Shore:IMG_4567

Maneuvering into rural Bedford county I found a vantage point and switched on the live feed. After watching a lowering under a rain free base for a bit I realized the feature was moving more east than north. So I pushed south on VA Route 43 to Route 24 and eventually all the way east to U.S. Route 29.

Along the way I had little visibility of this storm so when I emerged onto the Rte 29 corridor I was suckered into chasing a different severe-warned storm  with a strong rotational couplet east of Lynchburg. But after wandering around the countryside east of Rustburg I made a command decision to drop off that storm – which had begun to look messy – and reengage the intensifying southern complex I had abandoned earlier.

I quickly maneuvered along rural roads through eastern Campbell county (mostly) ahead of the rain. I pushed south of VA Route 40 via the Cody Road and stopped near Republican Grove to observe and photograph. Here I was just ahead of the southern tip which had rotation indicated on radar:IMG_4577

I witnessed a rotating wall cloud with a brief lowering that may have been a funnel:wallcloud and lowering_2 over Republican Grove

wallcloud and lowering over Republican Grove

However I couldn’t remain long as the precipitation shaft caught up with me, complete with half-inch diameter hail. I leapfrogged down the Cody Road to Volens on U.S. Route 501 but only briefly stopped there as the hail caught back up with me. Finally I pushed south of the storm’s trajectory and stopped to watch the obviously rotating wallcloud pass by just to my east across Rte 501:Wallcloud over 501When this feature receded eastward away from me I eased back out onto 501 and motored south, planning to jog down to Halifax and then continue east on VA Route 360 to keep up. However I hadn’t driven 3 miles when I noticed a massive low feature underneath this storm. Thus I dove off Rte 501 onto the first available Halifax county rural route to keep an eye on it.

I glimpsed it several times over open fields but only had one vantage point from which to  clearly photograph the very low wallcloud:wallcloud and substation

IMG_4613

I continued down rural routes to VA 360 east of Halifax, keeping an eye all the while on the storm. Just past the Halifax / Charlotte county line I pulled off the road to check radar and visually observe the storm. By this time it had weakened so I called the chase, turned off the live feed, and swapped directions for home.

After all, Sunday (tomorrow) is supposed to be the BIG show!!

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