As usual the day before “The Day” had plenty of action. The SPC has much of western Virginia under a Slight Risk tomorrow (Thursday, 6/16) while today most of the Old Dominion was under a Marginal Risk. So of course a massive squall line formed over West Virginia – courtesy of a short wave – and spawned a severe thunderstorm across the Roanoke valley.
I left home at 2 pm, biting on a small cluster of storms heading east from Galax. After watching them on radar for 30 minutes I was convinced the cluster would stay together. This Mesoscale Discussion also influenced my decision to head south toward Martinsville to intercept.
Unfortunately by the time I got to Bassett Forks the convection had petered out. After scratching my head for a bit I decided to motor north on rural roads out of Martinsville. Given the trajectory of the strengthening squall line over West Virginia I retargeted to the VA Route 40 corridor. I still had a while to wait as the line wasn’t pushing east very quickly.
I finally set up shop at a favored vantage point east of Glade Hill and watched as this cell grew and slowly approached. I switched on the live stream at this point.This was out ahead of the line so I was hopeful it would actually do something interesting but it never did.
When the rain from this cell neared I retreated east to a hilltop location in eager anticipation of watching the squall line build and approach. Alas the visibility was despicable thanks to the high humidity. Everything further than a couple miles away looked like gray mush. Thus altho’ I could see lightning and hear heavy duty thunder I couldn’t see squat for storm structure.
I jockeyed back and forth to a couple more locations but never could see any details. Thus when a weak part of the line materialized I punched through it and ate a late dinner in Rocky Mount.
On the way back home I stopped and snapped a photo of the sunset over Wirtz.This sight was some solace and overall I did enjoy the chase, but the dearth of visibility was frustrating. Now on to tomorrow’s setup.