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Yes, today was a questionable day to chase. Decent moisture and instability was offset by warm upper level temperatures (capped atmosphere) and very little shear, adding up to low-topped updrafts with little hope of organization. However it had been almost 2 weeks since my last real chase and I wasn’t going to chase the more volatile conditions coming along tomorrow (Saturday 7/1).

Picking up my chase partner just before 3 pm we rolled south on U.S. Route 220 to Rocky Mount and turned east on VA Route 40. An initial round of convection had already fired and moved north of that highway but we were targeting cells over Danville that were slowly traversing toward the north-northeast. We pushed through Gretna to get east of the updrafts but other cells went up ahead of us. After maneuvering southward through and around them without seeing anything exciting (not even lightning) we made our way via VA Route 57 back west toward Chatham.

We briefly stopped at a vantage point just south of Tightsqueeze to observe a cell ostensibly moving north from the Rte 58 corridor. However the updraft kept back building along what must have been an outflow boundary, remaining almost stationary to our southwest:IMG_7625

So we relocated west and south to VA Route 41 and made our way to a rural vantage point northwest of Danville to catch a glimpse of the base of this updraft. This was our best view:Storm W of Danville

The low level scud clouds very nearly exhibited Kelvin-Helmholtz wave action as they scooted along left to right in front of us.

Driving further west and south we targeted another cell near Martinsville, winding up with this southwestern view from a newly discovered vantage point in eastern Henry county:Storm near Martinsville

By this time the convection was weakening and we still hadn’t seen lightning or heard thunder from the low-topped cells. We motored north along more rural routes, paralleling one last cell that didn’t do anything other than chase us with rain. We called it a day when we reached the Rte 40 corridor and adjourned for dinner in Rocky Mount.

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