This day turned into a particularly unpredictable and frustrating day for chasing. It was an SRD aka. Slight Risk Day. In my area, an SRD is kind of a big deal. At least for me :P It seemed to be rather hopeful…
My best friend Jeff and I were discussing the conditions for the day in the chat room.
[17:38:51] <&JeffM> .A CONDITIONAL THREAT FOR TORNADOES COULD
[17:38:51] <&JeffM> EVOLVE OVER SRN MD…TIDEWATER VA…AND THE LWR MD/VA EASTERN SHORE.
[17:39:28] <&JeffM> the word is conditional
[17:39:31] <&JeffM> hell of a cap
At about 11:45-noon CAPE was at 4,000 J/kg which is extremely unstable (anything over 3,500 J/kg is extremely unstable) LI (Lifted Index) was -5 (and -8 to my SW) Supercell Composite was at 4. SIGTOR was 1. EHI (Energy plus Helicity – or strength of updraft combined with the degree of spin) was 1. According to SPC, I was under a 5% tornado risk. Not that I expected tornadoes, but not too shabby. To summarize in Jeff’s words..
[17:55:56] <&JeffM> energy’s off the wall, spin’s there but not the best
[17:56:06] <&JeffM> depends if it can bust through the hot layer at 5,000 feet
That hot layer (about 100°F) above the warm layer (91°F current temp at that time) was keeping things at bay. The warm air had to have enough force to bust through the hot layer, then get in the cold layer of air above the hot layer..
[17:41:53] <&JeffM> like taking the cap off a shaken diet coke and mentos
It was unknown when the cap would break or if it would at all. So I decided to get my gear ready and pack up and head out. I had plans on going to visit my friend Dennis, who had just moved here to the area, so, of course I had to drag him along chasing. Thankfully, he is interested to learn about it, so there was no problem. The only problem was the waiting game…the BEST and most EXCITING part of chasing!! :P
We wasted time and tried to figure out where would be a good place to chase at (target area) and waited for something to happen. I had GR Level 3 up and running, I was checking NWS and SPC for any changes in forecast, and even GOES East visible satellite. Nothing was happening…at least not like I had hoped. There was little stuff on radar to the NW and N of me but TOO far. Then there were things firing too far south and they were moving off the coast anyway. Slow slow slow. The forecasts and such got more..bleak the longer we waited. So, I decided that we should just head out and go west and see what happens. Dennis needed to go to a Radio Shack and there was one on the way.
We never found the Radio Shack. We wound up driving through random strip mall parking lot in the area the place was supposed to be in. No Radio Shack..and STILL no storms forming. Cumulus all over but nothing more than that. HOWEVER. We had quite an experience while we were driving through the parking lots..
All of a sudden comes this FLEET of reeeeeally tricked out vehicles. Butterfly doors, candy paint and 24 inch rims galore. Looked like something straight out of a hip hop video. They drove by all slow, doors open, systems bumping. I have never seen anything like this in my life. Except on TV. It was extremely amusing. Although, that is Norfolk for you :P I wish I would have been able to get pictures or something. I never thought I would see THAT on a chase. I can probably bet that NO one else can say they saw all that while chasing. Although, we were not technically chasing yet..still. Amusing as all hell.
We give up on Radio Shack and decided to head back east. Conditions had not changed and it was getting late. As we headed that way we noticed a distant storm. It was not bad looking, so we went after it. Drove until we found a good spot to photograph it. We wound up in a Kmart parking lot (sans sweet rides) that was mostly empty. We took quite a few photographs of it and some other stuff around. Nothing too impressive. The storm was apparently one of the ones that was to the SSE. It was photogenic at least. Nothing too major. Then we headed back because it was so damn hot that day we were just over it.
We both concluded it to be a bust for the most part. I told Dennis “Welcome to the exciting world of storm chasing! You get to do exciting things like wait around a lot and photograph some rather unimpressive stuff just to feel that it was worth something and to be able to justify the gas you just wasted!” He laughed. I am glad he is not one of those people that think chasing is like Twister. -.- Ah well, Tis the Season..the END of the season :P
These are the only pics that I felt worth putting up. I of course included my map below. Not sure why I felt the need for it this time as it was just a random place we found to photograph. I have a feeling the Google map will be a constant.