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More “whack-a-mole” storms today. High CAPE (instability), no cap, and little shear allowed storms to go up early and rapidly and fall apart just as fast. The huge amount of water vapor in the air provides potential for flash flooding and that’s exactly what downtown Roanoke experienced today.

For several reasons I wasn’t prepared to chase early this afternoon but when thunder rattled the house I scrambled around gathering up gear. I headed down the driveway around 1:30 or so, barely ahead of the rain. Rolling north and then east I emerged onto U.S. Route 460 as heavy drops began to smack the windshield.

I desperately sought an open vantage point east of the highway in the Webster area but never found a clear sightline. Thus I repointed the chasemobile east on 460 and sped ahead of the action. After a couple of unsuccessful detours onto side roads to find an adequate view of the advancing complex I continued to Bedford and turned south on VA Route 122.

By this time a discrete cell on the eastern edge of the original action had gone severe-warned and looked like this on radar:IMG_5348Of course at this time I was also stuck in road construction, the bane of stormchasers everywhere. Finally extricating myself from the entangled mess I maneuvered via rural Bedford county roads to find a spot to watch the storm.

And by the time I did the radar view had degenerated into this diffuse blob:IMG_5349Note the second view is only 15 minutes after the first one, reemphasizing the need for wind shear to allow a storm to maintain its updraft. “What goes up must come down…quickly” in a low shear environment.

The leftover anvil from the original convection overspread the entire area and suppressed all potential activity for several hours. I called it quits and rolled home early. I did snap a few photos and even had the live feed up for a bit but none of the photos is even worth posting.

Maybe later this week we’ll have some shear from a weak front that is supposed to sag into Virginia and dissipate. Until then it’ll be “whack-a-mole” chasing at its finest.

 

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