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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:waiting-for-things-to-take-off

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-was-the-one-i-waited-for

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:img_6360

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.

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