Today was an enjoyable relaxed chase in which I saw three non-severe storms. SPC had most of Virginia in a Marginal Risk but even though deep layer shear was plentiful the CAPE was a bit limited all day.
I rolled south on US Route 220 toward Martinsville to intercept cells that short range models forecast would fire in that vicinity by 3 pm. They did, and I wound up moving east of Martinsville via US Route 58 to get ahead of the storm. As I did the original cell split on radar with the left split having a lowering underneath it:
To both check out and get ahead of the right hand split I dropped south of Rte 58 at Axton, stopping after several miles to switch on the live stream. Repositioning after a few minutes I found another rural location and sat for a while to watch:
A shelf cloud began to form as I watched and kept growing while I retreated eastward. This storm was moving and developing such that the business end was quickly moving south of the state line into undesirable chase territory. Thus when I noticed another convective line moving across the Blue Ridge mountains I decided to pull off this storm and roll north to meet the next one.
After splashing through some rain I reached a spot alongside US Route 29 between Chatham and Gretna where i pointed the chasemobile westward to continue the live stream. The southern edge of this convection exhibited a nice shelf cloud:
As the complex edged closer to my location the shelf cloud developed a nice layer-cake look:
Since this system was weakening visually and on radar I let it wash over me with ~25 mph outflow winds. I skirted the southern edge of the precipitation to head north and then west on VA Route 40 toward Rocky Mount. As I did so another storm west of Martinsville began to look appealing out my window. Thus I stopped at Glade Hill to evaluate.
Given that it was a nice afternoon I was in no hurry and decided to move south to check out convection that was bubbling along the rear flank of storm #3. It actually showed a bit of a lowering under a rain-free base:
Utilizing rural roads to get closer I stopped at the edge of a farm field to watch this flanking cell as it dissipated.
Storm #3 developed on its southern edge – again – and went severe-warned just across the state line in North Carolina. Having no desire to go back down to that latitude I called it a chase and drove to Rocky Mount for dinner, satisfied that I’d seen what there was to be seen on this nice but non-ballistic day.