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Although conditions were similar to recent chases (lots of CAPE, little shear) today had some extra impetus in the form of a short wave crossing the mountains. With storms going up along the ridgelines to the south I motored down the driveway at 1:30 for Rocky Mount. Intending to stop there to evaluate things I instead turned east on VA Route 40.

At Glade Hill I rolled south and then east along rural routes to a hilltop vantage point for a peek at the convection. After switching on the live feed and watching for a while I realized the activity wasn’t pushing east as fast as I’d originally thought so I moved back west and then north to the Glade Hill vicinity. There one cell showed symptoms of a mesocyclone and accompanying wall cloud:

As this feature progressed northward I ventured in the same direction for a bit until it became obvious that (a) the rain was cutting off my forward path and (b) convection to the south was strengthening (it had become severe-warned). Thus I bailed on the northern complex and reversed direction, speeding south to Rte 40 and turning east.

I dithered some on how far east to travel before finally jumping onto the Museville Road and heading south. Just before reaching Callands I found a spot to pause and watch for several minutes as an impressive shelf cloud approached, grumbling with copious amounts of thunder:shelf cloud approaching Callands

When this leading edge neared the radar view suggested that I needed to vacate the premises or face possibly serious consequences:

Thus I finished the journey to Callands where I diverted east on VA Route 57. Finding a spot to – briefly – stop near Rondo I had this view of the shelf coming right at me over a tobacco patch:shelf cloud near Rondo

Instead of continuing to race in front of the line I chose to scoot south just in front of it all the way to VA Route 41. In doing so the leading edge of the shelf overtook me so I stopped to snap a couple of photos from inside the “whale’s mouth”:Whales mouth Pittsylvania county

I wound up going thru Dry Fork and stopping near U.S. Route 29 just north of White Oak Mountain. As the original storm faded and another one built on the outflow the resulting lightning output was fierce, close, and rapid enough that I kept my hands away from anything metal in the chasemobile. At one point the local TV station lost my live feed, due – I think – to a nearby cell tower being affected by the electrical discharges.

From here I ducked south on 29 over the mountain to scout out what features might be of interest for the 5 0’clock TV weather block. Once that block was over I called it a chase as the leading edge (and accompanying shelf cloud) was east of me and moving away.

A decent August chase if I do say so myself!

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