Given plenty of CAPE but little shear I figured today would entail slow moving heavy rainers/hailers and I wasn’t disappointed. I was, however, pleased to see several cells develop initial wall clouds before gusting out.
I left home just after 1 pm to get east of the mountains before convection got too serious. Of course a severe warned storm caused wind damage in Salem shortly after I’d left the Roanoke valley. Parking briefly at Glade Hill to evaluate I decided to intercept that same complex at Burnt Chimney after it crossed the Blue Ridge mountains.
As I traveled north and then turned east toward Burnt Chimney I caught a glimpse of the cloud base dipping down. When I finally had a clear view there was a genuine wall cloud wrapping up west of the town.
I live streamed from this location until the wall cloud approached within a mile and then I dove back south and east to stay ahead of it. I caught glimpses of the feature by stopping a few times but within several minutes this cell began gusting out into a shelf cloud.
Reaching VA Route 40 at Glade Hill (again) I motored east to Penhook, staying just south of the precipitation as the storm edged eastward. I turned south on rural roads, drove through Museville, and pushed east into Pittsylvania county where I found an open vantage point next to a corn field. From here I watched the leading edge slowly push by, shedding CG’s (cloud-to-ground lightning bolts) and heavy rain not far north of me.
Turning to the west I watched from the same vantage point as another lowering / wall cloud briefly wrapped up.
When the rain approached and more storms fired southwest of this action I pulled up stakes and rolled to Callands. Upon perusing radar and maps I turned south on VA Route 57, driving through some heavy rain under rapidly developing cells. Taking another rural route south toward Axton I wound up at a favorite viewing spot to see this shelf with leading edge lowerings approaching from the west.I was able to stick here for 10 minutes or so before I concluded that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This activity approaching from the west was about to meet up with a strong storm moving north and I was in the “merge zone”.
After first verifying with the local TV channel that they weren’t using the live feed on the air I hopped back in the chasemobile and turned south again. After I cleared the merge area I stopped to watch and photograph this southern cell as it moved toward me with a lowering under both the southern and northern edges. The updraft appeared to be splitting but it never got that far (not enough shear to support it).
After sitting there a few minutes the imminent cell merger between this storm and the western convection became visually apparent just west of me.
Pushing south to U.S. Route 58 I pointed the chasemobile east and motored toward Danville to miss the growing hail core under this southern updraft. However as I rolled along more storms went up east of me and one developed a nice wall cloud in front of me.(I didn’t get a still photo since I was driving but I may be able to pull a frame from the dashcam video.)
I wandered around the Danville vicinity for a while, even briefly dropping into North Carolina to try for a view of some rapidly growing storms approaching Yanceyville. I did see a lot of CG’s but finally gave up and called off the chase to avoid getting sucked further south into what I consider no-mans-land for chasing.
It was a good chase!