SPC had most of Virginia under either an Enhanced or a Slight Risk today:
An approaching trough provided shear plus cooler temperatures aloft while a surface cold front fired several line segments along and ahead of it. The first line popped up before noon so I rolled down the driveway at 11:45 am to get ahead of it in the vicinity of Bedford.
What followed was such a mish-mash of convective activity that I’m not even going to try to detail everything that happened. Instead here are a number of photos that are – hopefully – in chronological order with brief descriptions of what was going on.
This was storm #1 in western Bedford county just off US Rte 460. I let this one go on its merry way northward into undesirable chase territory and of course it went severe-warned.
After a gasoline and comfort stop I dropped south to a vantage point along Joppa Mill Road and spied this lowering under the next cell on this first convective line. I’m pretty sure this was at least briefly a wall cloud as surface winds were at my back, i.e. they were flowing into the storm.
After the first line went by with several cool renditions of shelf clouds I cooled my heels a while at a local park. When a second convective line crossed the Blue Ridge I motored back to the Joppa Mill Road location to watch. The above photo shows a SLC (scary looking cloud) under the shelf cloud on the southern end of the line.
Meanwhile the northern end produced a very mean-looking shelf cloud that I left behind when it approached too close. I leap-frogged ahead of this second line into eastern Bedford county and watched for quite a while.
When the rain approached again I dove south along VA Rte 43 to Altavista and then continued south on US Rte 29 past Chatham to check out a third line segment. This was the view I had of a very interesting feature from the Blair truck stop on the eastern slope of White Oak Mountain just before the rain closed in. Was it a mesocyclone signature? Perhaps, but I only had a few seconds to observe it.
Yet another line segment (#4) moved toward Danville from the southwest. This was the southern edge of it with another shelf cloud. I motored a bit south and east to stay ahead of it but wound up conducting a static core punch a couple miles east of Rte 29.
Calling off the chase I grabbed dinner and then headed home up Rte 29. I turned off on Old Mine Road to cut the corner to VA Rte 40 and as I rolled along that rural route I caught a glimpse of Kelvin-Helmholz waves.
Not a bad way to bookend a busy day!