Tuesday March 28th was a “chase-in-place”, i.e. a glorified spotting opportunity that came when I needed it. Already in the town of Orange VA for family reasons I watched a line of storms build to the northwest from a hilltop vantage point. I had no desire to follow the action so the plan was to stay put and just observe. The photo below was taken looking north at the storms crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Culpeper:

These cells had radar-indicated half inch hail and heavy rain – but little or no rotation – which provided me even more incentive to simply watch and not give chase.

As these cells grew and slowly drifted southeast a flanking line built over Madison a bit closer to me. A lowering under the closest updraft to the main activity caught my eye but didn’t amount to anything.lowering under flanking line

The main line just barely missed me as it rolled slowly south and east. However the flanking line bent back to the west of the mountains and that section grew into a significant storm.

 

 

As this cell approached I moved around to the south side of the hill for a better look. Here’s the storm at its closest approach.southern cell closest approach

There were hints of a lowering under the southern rain-free base but that didn’t amount to much. This was just a pleasing sight to watch and not obsess over navigation, trees, and traffic.

As the convection moved eastward the heavy rain from this cell came close but didn’t quite reach my location.rain not far S of me

An obliging rainbow behind the northern storms then capped off the action:rainbow behind the northern storm

So it wasn’t REALLY a chase but it was what I needed yesterday afternoon.

Another chase chance coming Friday 3/31? TBD.

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