Finally...I got out and chased a real live 2012 (visible) thunderstorm! Based on mesoscale models I had planned to head out in late afternoon to catch storms that looked to form and move southward into my chase region after 5 p.m. Nature had other ideas, however, and a batch of individual storms fired in the instability over West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Thus I headed west at 2:30 p.m. to intercept a cell near Culpeper that was severe-warned just west of the Blue Ridge mountains.
When I reached my initial position I was rewarded with a great view of mammatus:
Thusly encouraged I settled in to watch the base of the storm crest the Blue Ridge and move in my direction. I did notice, however, that when I exited the chasemobile I received a static shock that indicated very dry surface air in my vicinity. Sure enough, the cell immediately began to weaken as the base moved east of the ridgeline.
There was plenty of lightning and rainshafts to keep me entertained but the only lowering I saw was a small lowering on the south edge of the storm:
I followed the cell eastward and let it wash over me in order to follow it, but between its forward speed (>40 mph at one point) and the overall shrinkage of the storm I never caught back up with it. But it was a very enjoyable afternoon!