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4/25/04 REPORTS: Northeast/Midwest

Dan Robinson

Unfortunately I don't have much to report from Sunday other than about 400 more miles on the truck and about $40 in gas. I started out with a target of Lewisburg, based on the RUC and the fact that LWB was out of the clouds and had the best T/Tds (74/62) in the entire area at 2:00PM. Sure enough, a nice cell went up to the southwest and passed right over Lewisburg around 3:00, but not before weakening to a mushy rain shower with a couple rumbles of thunder. Looked great on radar for a little while though. Close to 5:30PM, the outflow boundary from the morning rain fired off a more intense line of cells again along the mountain ridges from Bluefield to Narrows to Lewisburg. They looked great on the radar and lightning data display but were disappointing in person. Plenty of thunder but I never saw a flash of light, mainly because the cells were not large enough to darken the sky. Consequently, nice scenery but no lightning video. The one redeeming quality of the Greenbrier County storms is that they cleared out abrubtly on their back side, allowing the sun to hit the back edge of precip for some stunning rainbows. Got a few shots of these before heading back toward home.


By Sandstone, I could see the tops of the convection behind me, very ragged and struggling to stay vertical.

Next, I tried to get back west to get into the second wave of storms moving up the Ohio River. I had been spoiled by the Lewisburg cells' 30mph movement, now these storms near Huntington were chugging northeast at over 50mph. I originally wanted to catch the lightning at Point Pleasant, but the fast movement forced me to choose Ripley as the intercept point. Even then, the storms beat me to Ripley by about 5 minutes. Upon reaching Wood County, the lightning rapidly intensified and I decided to stay with them, just barely keeping up on I-77. They ended up outrunning me by a long shot, and I turned around at Marietta to head home for the night.

Sort of a frustrating day, without a single lightning bolt or hailstone to show for the miles. SPC isn't even showing any LSRs for WV. The day looked good on 'paper' but just didn't produce. I was, however, very impressed at how well the RUC handled the day's events. It had just about every area of convection nailed down. Too bad models aren't always this way.