Several methods of firing storms were on the table today: an outflow boundary from an overnight MCS crossing the Appalachians, a short wave moving in from KY/TN, and a cold front pressing south from northern Virginia. With that in mind my initial target was just east of the Lynchburg vicinity along US Route 460 which would give us (my son as my chase partner for the first time in a couple of years) options to go north, south, or stay put.
After 20 minutes or so alongside a busier-than-normal back road in we diverted to Appomattox to fuel the chasemobile. We found a spot to sit and watch there for a few more minutes as updrafts built to the west. About this time a storm blew up near Danville and I had a momentary panic that we had chosen a target too far north…but we were patient. To keep an eye on “our” updrafts we dropped a few miles south of Appomattox to watch some more from another angle.
Meanwhile a cell we’d noticed north of town continued to develop so we eventually gave in and drove back north, stopping in the Appomattox battlefield vicinity to watch it and listen to the thunder a bit.
Deciding this was THE storm we kept up with it via county roads thru Appomattox and then Buckingham counties. Coming around a bend we noticed a rainbow next to a lowering at the back of the cell and stopped to watch and take photos.
Determined to keep up with this storm we eventually survived two highly inquisitive – and potentially suicidal (they kept darting in front of the chasemobile) – dogs, a horse and buggy, and a vehicle with Maryland plates obviously lost in the wilds of Virginia. In doing so we came across this view of a visibly rotating wallcloud just to our east. My son sent in a report to NWS Wakefield via social media.
We continued chasing this cell across U.S. Route 15 north of Farmville and found our final vantage point just off VA Route 307 in Nottoway County. The rural road that led to this spot was littered with leaves, a clue that a hail core had passed thru this area:
Sure enough when we rolled to a stop there were hailstones larger than a quarter littering the area.So much hail had fallen that hail fog began to form in the field in front of us.
Lifting our eyes to the east the hail shaft at the back of this storm was still visible and corresponded to the VIL signature on radar.
From here we waved good-bye to “our” storm as it and several others converged on the Richmond metro area.
Tomorrow I’ll review the videos and see what other views can be pulled off them.