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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.wall cloud over Burnt Chimney

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.IMG_5258

Complex along Rte 40

Turning to the west I watched from the same vantage point as another lowering / wall cloud briefly wrapped up.Lowering W of Museville

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.leading edge lowerings from Axton areaI 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”.IMG_5265

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).Cell S of Martinsville

After sitting there a few minutes the imminent cell merger between this storm and the western convection became visually apparent just west of me.Imminent cell merger E of Martinsville

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.IMG_5278(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!