Wednesday August 8th was already on the calendar as the day in which the Mid-Atlantic ChaserCon planning committee was to meet for dinner in Farmville VA. So naturally it turned out to be a chase day with a Marginal Risk issued by the SPC:
And just as naturally my chasing timeframe and range were restricted by the need to be in Farmville at 6:00 pm.
The short range models were all over the map – literally – in terms of when and where convection would fire, a typical result for an August day with little or no cap. I wound up leaving home before 2 pm and moseying eastward via U.S. Route 460, trolling for storms to chase. A nice-looking cell complete with a fully developed anvil was trudging across the Blue Ridge mountains toward Lynchburg and I had hopes of intercepting it. When I stopped for gas just west of the city the base exhibited some interesting structure but by the time I pulled back onto the highway the storm had visibly weakened. It then completely died shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile severe warnings had been posted on storms near Danville (a typical chase area for me) as well as on a complex crossing the Blue Ridge into Franklin county (another familiar chase region).
Of course I was left high and dry as I couldn’t get to these storms with any kind of guarantee of making it to Farmville in time for the meeting. Sighing heavily I aimed for a cell that I could see building off to the east, giving chase along rural roads east of U.S. Route 501.
This cell also dissipated as I paused in a church parking lot to observe:
Knowing that “whack-a-mole” was the game of the day I resolved to find some new convection within range of the Farmville meeting and jump on it while it was still growing. I noticed both on radar and visually that updrafts just south of me were building so I motored toward the Brookneal vicinity, turning east on VA Route 40 toward the metropolis of Phenix.
I did switch on the livestream at this location but the complex built updrafts overtop me at a couple of different places, dowsing me with torrential rain and cutting down the visibility. East of Phenix – with little or no cell signal available – I switched off the livestream and rolled further along Rte 40 at highway speeds in hopes of getting ahead of the rain.
Finally reaching the outskirts of Keysville I was far enough ahead of the rain that I could glimpse some interesting activity on the southwestern edge.
I dropped south out of town on a rural route which dead-ended at a large plantation style residence. From here I could see a lowering that resembled a wall cloud underneath that southwestern edge as thunder grumbled almost continuously.
I sent the television station a photo of this feature which morphed into a shelf cloud as I watched over the next few minutes. Then, given the time I pulled up stakes and drove north up U.S. Route 15 to make it to Farmville for the meeting. Not long after I drove away from this cell it went severe-warned for severe winds and large hail.
All in all it was a decent chase on a pleasant day. Oh, and the meeting was very productive!!