23 May 2011 Storm Chase (Pt. 1 of 2) – Summary and videos

After debating between a PA and southern VA target, Jason and I decided to head south towards the better instability. While several tornadoes were reported in PA, the day was not a disappointment as we caught multiple funnel clouds and a possible tornado on video.

We started the trip stuck in traffic. After heading out from home just after 1:00pm, we got on I-495 and had just gotten on the American Legion Memorial Bridge when traffic halted in front of us. Apparently, there was a serious accident just before the exit to I-395, and the accident basically blocked all of the lanes. We were on the bridge for over an hour until emergency crews re-opened one lane (not even a lane… just on the right-most part of the pavement) and we got through just before the real rush hour traffic hit the southern end of D.C. around 3:00pm. We made good time getting down past Richmond into SE Virginia.

After watching storms initialize in SE Virginia (as we were arriving into the area), we could see more storms popping up along a SW-NE oriented boundary (the short wave?) stretching down into NE North Carolina as the afternoon was coming to a close. We headed into North Carolina and tracked a storm for nearly two hours while it kept up a wall cloud and tried to produce tornadoes here and there. We can’t really know for sure whether or not we got tornadoes on camera since the terrain blocked us from seeing any possible ground circulation, but there were a few times where we thought it was pretty darn close.

I might make a clip video later, but Jason already accomplished that with a lot of similar footage, so I might just be lazy and go for the screen grabs instead. The first video is my continuous footage of the rotating wall cloud and funnel cloud(s)/possible tornado. Jason’s video takes us through most of the exciting part of the chase, with a nice funnel cloud starting around 8:21 on the video (shortly after I stopped filming to get our location to report the funnel cloud). These parts of the chase took place about 2-3 miles WNW of Ahoskie, NC along Rt. 561.

You can skip past the little FBI Copyright Warning screen in the beginning of his video…

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