Yesterday’s chase was so uninspiring that (a) it took me until today to write it up and (b) I’m not even posting any photos here.
A cold front was forecast to bulldoze the heat and humidity out of the region Thursday. The shear associated with it convinced me to give chase. (During the late summer I tend to grow weary of chasing high CAPE / low shear setups with “whack-a-mole” storms that pop up and rain out quickly.)
The main problem with the setup centered on the early timing of the front and convection firing out ahead of it. Thus I left home around 11:15 for Bedford to stay ahead of a northeast/southwest oriented convective line. But before I reached Bedford a couple of nice discrete storms erupted along the U.S. Route 29 corridor near Danville, well ahead of the line itself.
These – of course! – were the storms of the day, showing radar-indicated midlevel rotation even before the noon hour. There was no way I could reach them as I’d have been in a futile tail chase. Frustrated at this development I wandered around south of Bedford keeping an eye on a fairly intense line segment rolling across the Roanoke valley.
I decided to intercept the southern end of this segment and crawled south thru traffic across Smith Mountain Lake to a point where I could see a blurry shelf cloud approaching from the west. I switched on the live feed for a while from this location.
However the line weakened considerably as it crossed the Blue Ridge. When the rain neared I continued south to the VA Route 40 corridor to stay ahead of it. To shorten a boring story I finished the chase east of Gretna watching as the line diffused into a general rain maker. I saw no lightning, felt a little outflow breeze, and that was about it.
So not quite a bust but not much better than one either.