As promised I’m posting my favorite chase photos from this year. Given that I didn’t make it out to the Plains this year these are all from Virginia chases. As usual it was tough choosing the top photos. My only filter was that each photo chosen had to be from a different day even tho’ a few chases resulted in multiple neat pictures. Here’s the countdown starting with number ten:
10. September 20th hail bow: No shear and meager CAPE kept me close to home this day but I did venture out to watch as a number of so-so storms went up. One particular cell just north of the Roanoke valley received a severe warning so I went after it. I managed to snap this cool photo from a local hilltop vantage point as the sunlight was scattered into its component colors by the hail falling from this storm.
9. April 21st head-on view: This early season storm in eastern Bedford county wasn’t severe but it was slow-moving and picturesque. I enjoyed watching it from this vantage point for quite a while.
8. May 1st wall cloud: The merry month of May started with a bang. This was actually the third storm I chased that day and it was the most active. I watched from just south of Chatham as it cycled down from an apparent supercell with a hook echo on radar and formed an impressive shelf cloud. It then cycled back up with a mean-looking wall cloud. This photo was taken atop the White Oak Mountain ridge line in Pittsylvania county looking north at the lowering as it traversed left-to-right.
7. April 22nd shelf cloud over Rocky Mount: I wasn’t planning to chase on this day but the SPC dangled a 2% tornado risk in front of me. I did see a couple of wall clouds later that day in North Carolina but this nice-looking shelf cloud occurred early in the chase. I dashed back and forth on rural roads east of Rocky Mount to find a vantage point and finally stopped with this view.
6. August 7th hybrid wall/shelf cloud: Typically August days in Virginia have plenty of instability but little shear. This was an atypical day in that decent shear was available via a cold front and an accompanying upper level short wave. Chasing was complicated by a low overcast left over from morning rainfall plus the fact that the KFCX Blacksburg radar was down. However using the MK 1 eyeball and some luck I spotted a cell heading east from Amherst into Appomattox county. A lowering underneath it morphed into this hybrid wall/shelf cloud a few miles north of the town of Appomattox. (The wind was quartering from behind my left shoulder as I snapped this photo, indicating the storm had at least some inflow characteristics.)
So that’s it for the first half of the countdown. The rest – including 2017’s #1 photo – will follow in the next blogpost which will likely arrive tomorrow.