So it happened…my first chase on the winter solstice. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea even though a deep trough was pushing through the region. The severe parameters (instability, shear, moisture, and lift) just didn’t quite line up per the models which is why SPC only had a general thunderstorm risk across Virginia. Nevertheless I talked myself into heading east of the Blue Ridge into Bedford county this morning to intercept some convection zooming northward.
I found myself under a linear discrete cell before 11 a.m. just south of U.S. Route 460 between Bedford and Lynchburg.
This was the view to the south as I switched on the livestream:
As the action quickly traveled northward I pulled back out on Rte 460 and motored west a couple of miles to this view of the rear of the storm looking north:
This was the overall view of what turned out to be the discrete storm of the day a few minutes later as it disappeared across the Blue Ridge mountains:
Up to this point this storm had exhibited no lightning but as it continued northward some strikes showed up on radar. It remained discrete on radar for quite a while.
With that action out of reach I retreated back west toward Bedford to await more development. While I pondered the situation in a local park I witnessed another brilliant rainbow:
I finally chose to dive south on VA Route 122 to a known vantage point which allowed a clear view to the south and southwest. As I came to a stop I quickly snapped photos of backlit showers to the south near Smith Mountain Lake:
Here I sat for quite a while waiting on a developing squall line that showed various signs of strong winds and possible rotation on radar.
I did see the cloud base under the line as it approached but not much else. When the rain overtook me I rolled north again to Bedford before running east ahead of the deluge. This was my last view of the oncoming line from a location south of Rte 460 on a rural road:
There were more showers building to the south but on radar they didn’t look much different from what I’d already seen so I called it a chase.