There is one word I can use to describe this day. Epic. When I left the house, I never had a clue of what would happen over the course of the next 7 hours. This time, I chased with all my gear. Something told me I would need it. Indeed I did.
Scooped up my friend Dennis and we headed down Virginia Beach Blvd, snapping photos along the way. I did not want to try and forecast and plan the day as that tends to be a letdown when things to do go according to plan. All we were driven by was the fact that we needed to eat some lunch, and have wifi so we could watch GR3 for development.
We never made it inside the mall. There was a great view of a large storm forming to our south. So, we loaded GR3 and watched for it. Oddly it never showed on BR1 until right before it started raining where we were at. Higher level reflectivity showed the storm, but BR1 took an age. It was apparent that it was a high precipitation single celled storm. Pretty huge although a little disorganised in appearance near the top. Some striations were present and a very low cloud base, with a very intense precip core which is a good indicator for possible flash floods..Little did we know that this gorgeous storm would turn into a stationary precip dumping mess.
We headed north after it began to rain, thinking we would just skirt around it. We needed to eat so, I suggested Taco Bell for burritos as I was joking about Allsup’s. It was cheap and easy and on the way to his place in Norfolk. We ate and watched the storm on radar as it just became engulfed in a whole ton of rain that seemed to come out of nowhere, and some embedded multi cells. The whole mess was moving slowly so we figured we had time. By that time flood and marine warnings were being issued. Thought nothing of it really. I have never been in a flash flood environment until then.
Norfolk and Virginia Beach are very different in many ways but apparently the big difference is the fact that Norfolk floods like crazy. Virginia Beach does not seem to flood at all. Not sure what exactly causes this but I have a hunch about the roads and their construction… We were seeing cars stalling out, and I knew mine could be next if we did not pull into a parking lot and wait. My 95 Honda Civic EX is very low to the ground and I wanted to take no chances.
We wound up waiting for ages. We figured we could move along at a lull and slowly make our way. We pulled over into another parking lot for a while, and then after a few bad decisions regarding what roads had less water we got near his apartment and had to back into someones driveway as the water was waaay too deep. The water receeded some finally as the rain had quit for the most part.
I finally made my way toward Virginia Beach Blvd as I thought that was a smart way to go..East Princess Anne was hell as we had just come from there. Well I made a mistake of trying to go down Va. Beach Blvd..Closed. I got stuck in another parking lot for a while. At that point I was feeling not too happy. A trip that takes 20 minutes has taken many hours. I was in the area for 2 extra hours because of my bad decision. Then I made my way to E. Princess Anne and it was stop and go. Barely moving. Then finally it got moving and I got home..at 9:30-10pm.. 5 hours in flash floods. I was pretty damn lucky I did not get into a crisis. This was a learning experience for me. But the storm we got was well worth it. I am satisfied with the day. Just gonna watch out for flooding in Norfolk next time. =)