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8/30/05 REPORT: Virginia

My initial target for Tuesday was Roanoke, VA, so I awoke early in preparation for the 2.5 hour drive. However, as morning progressed, clearing began to take place west of the Appalachian spine over central and southern West Virginia. Due to gas prices and the possibility of an event very close to home, I initially opted to stay in the Charleston/Beckley WV region. Soon after, the moderate risk and 15% tornado threat was extended into my home area, and I was very optimistic. Charleston was at 84/70 by noon with ESE winds, and Beckley was slightly cooler but in the clear with strongly backed winds around 15 to 20mph. Tornado watches were issued for all of southern and east-southeast West Virginia as well as western Virginia.

However, by 1:30PM nothing was firing in West Virginia, and the cloud cover seemed to be persisting over the mountains and over Charleston. Once cells in the Mount Airy, NC and Hillsville, VA seemed to be organizing, I decided to head that way, intending to meet the line of storms in Roanoke.

I turned around at Wytheville once it became clear that the event was not playing out like expected. The areas in WV west of the high ridges remained in sunshine nearly all day, but nothing was able to initiate and sustain itself likely due to downsloping. My only sighting was a rainbow from a brief shower near Mossy, WV between Charleston and Beckley.

Rainbow near Mossy:

Part of a long cherry-picker convoy in Wytheville, VA en route to the Gulf Coast:

Congratulations Bill H. and Dave H. for finding the diamond in the rough!