At the last minute I decided to chase today, albeit with a self-imposed eastern limit of the U.S. Route 501 corridor due to other priorities. Based on several convective allowing models – HRRR and several WRF models – I motored south to the Danville area. The models consistently showed a couple of large cells firing in that vicinity with significant updraft helicities (i.e. rotating cells).
I left home a bit earlier than I’d planned to get ahead of a rain shower. Thus I moseyed to Rocky Mount and then to Gretna, stopping along the way to watch a line crossing the Blue Ridge. While motoring east on VA Route 40 I could see convection bubbling up to the south so I turned south at Gretna, stopping just south of Tightsqueeze. After watching towers grow there for a while I decided to work my way further south and east. I wound up northeast of Danville with this southern view:
About this time some towers I could see further south were beginning to show radar returns so I maneuvered along rural roads to get to this vantage point just east of Danville.
This cell went up at the time and place predicted by the models so this was IT. I retreated east ahead of it on U.S. Route 58, stopping to watch a couple of times. Unfortunately the storm’s motion took it across the back country toward South Boston faster than I could keep up with it even using highway speeds. Thus it escaped and went on to become – I think – this classic supercell well to my east:
Frustrated, I pushed north through South Boston and watched more cells build. I found a rural spot southwest of Halifax to observe this storm as it came right at me:
I actually let it wash over me to check if it contained hail but all that fell was rain. But before I left this location I noticed an interesting feature under the right (north) side of this cell. I photographed it from here and then moved a couple miles north and west and snapped it again from another angle:
It certainly appeared to exhibit shear but that’s about the most notable thing associated with this storm.
So I was in the right spot at the right time when the storm-of-the-day fired. That’s a success. But I didn’t see anything resembling a severe feature. In fact the storm bases all looked pretty bland. That’s an unsuccessful chase.