So we were under a Severe TS watch and I live streamed two separate severe-warned storms…and it was a ho-hum chase.
With a cold front pressing into hot and steamy air it was a given that today would be a chase day. I’d already decided that before the SPC bumped the region up to a Slight risk this morning. There were a few limiters however: shear was sparse even though a front was in the area and westerly surface winds warned of downsloping effects that would weaken storms crossing the Blue Ridge mountains. CAPE – instability – was plentiful however.
Convection initiated early enough that I needed to roll out the driveway before 1:00 pm. With the front starting the day north of the area and then moving south I motored to Bedford along U.S. Route 460 as an initial target. Stopping at a local park I spent time monitoring radar and the weather radio as I watched updrafts with the Mark 1 eyeball.
I finally chose a cell north of Amherst that was moving southeast. Driving east on 460 I turned north on rural roads at Concord, settling into a vantage point to watch this cell and switching on the live stream.
It – like all the storms today – was moving at perhaps 10 mph and remained in view quite a while. However when the weather radio blared a severe warning on another cell to the west over the mountains I pulled up stakes and headed south through Rustburg to another vantage point just east of U.S. Route 29.
This was my first view of the updraft to my northwest.
This cell dumped lots of rain and large hail on the town of Glasgow west of the mountains but weakened as it slowly ground its way across the Blue Ridge. I did catch glimpses of a couple of lowerings under it but nothing worth reporting.
As this storm weakened the one behind it received a warning and wandered along the same track, training over Glasgow and the surrounding region. Eventually that area was also warned for flash flooding as radar indicated over three inches of rain had fallen there.
By the time the second warned storm weakened below severe limits east of the Blue Ridge I was sitting under a slowly growing line of updraft bases. After repositioning further south to Yellow Branch on Rte 29 I concluded this was the actual surface cold front. None of the cells were growing explosively nor were the tops reaching any great heights but the bright white updrafts were rather impressive against the clear blue sky:
Seriously doubting this action would intensify enough to justify following it further I called off the chase and rolled home. I made the right decision…