Even tho’ the last day of a very hot July only held promise of garden variety (i.e. “build and collapse”) storms I headed out anyway. I picked up my chase partner at 2:30, having moved up that rendezvous an hour given that convection started earlier than anticipated. With updrafts already going up east of the Blue Ridge we rolled south on U.S. Route 220 to Rocky Mount.
Pausing there we decided to move east on VA Route 40 to get ahead of a nascent line that was mostly visible via the Mark 1 eyeball vs. radar echoes. During a stop near Glade Hill to sort things out I gave in to the temptation to dive south in order to intercept a decent-looking complex near Martinsville. Thus we drove over to U.S. Route 29 and rolled south to Danville.
The original cell was slowly but surely sagging south of the state line so we dropped down to the North Carolina welcome center to check it out. All the while we kept an eye on a developing line out ahead of “our” storm that was just north of Danville. After the first storm weakened we pushed back into Virginia and then east on U.S. Route 58. The developing convective line was just north of the highway and gusted out into a shelf cloud as we watched.
When this line also sagged south we dropped into North Carolina once again, pausing for a good while along a rural lane less than a mile south of the state line to observe.
At this point we decided to break away from this activity and let it continue south and east. Meanwhile more convection was crossing the Blue Ridge near Roanoke so we retraced our path back to Route 29 and scurried north to Altavista. There we diverted northwest on VA Route 43 to check out the action as it crossed Bedford county.
Updrafts in this new convection persisted in developing lowerings under rain-free bases and we kept up with it as best we could. Driving east on VA Route 24 back to the Rte 29 corridor we eventually rolled thru Rustburg and continued east via rural roads. We were thus able to keep an eye on the activity that was now encroaching on U.S. Route 460 a few miles north of us.
We saw a few more lowerings including one that may have been a brief wall cloud before calling off the chase due to approaching twilight. After a late dinner in Lynchburg we motored home after dark, pleased with making a decent chase out of not much to work with.