Apr 242013
 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

 
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Shelf cloud in Greensburg, PA.

Shelf cloud in Greensburg, PA.


 

Local, on the fly chases are a lot of fun. They are simple and relatively stress-free. And success is pretty much a given since you weren’t really expecting to chase, so you’re expectations from the beginning are near zero. So as long as you see anything cool at all, the day was a success and everything is good!

I left work today knowing there were some pretty weak thunderstorms heading in my direction along the cold front. I was essentially expecting to see a dark sky followed by heavy rain, drive through it and call it a day. Instead, I was greeted by a decent looking shelf cloud — especially for western PA standards for anything forming along a cold front.

 
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Shelf cloud in Greensburg, PA.

Shelf cloud in Greensburg, PA.


 

Now you’ll have to excuse the foreground buildings such as JCPenney and Best Buy. The only decent shot I had of seeing this shelf cloud at all without numerous obstructions was at the local mall parking lot! And yes, I got numerous stares and finger pointing from shoppers and motorists. I mean seriously, I guy can’t take pictures of a thunderstorm? And by the way, people here drive just as bad in the rain as they do in the snow!

 
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Shelf cloud and inflow band.

Shelf cloud and inflow band.


 

 
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You can see the rain shaft on the left and the shelf cloud on the right.

You can see the rain shaft on the left and the shelf cloud on the right.


 

Once this storm moved off to my northeast, I dove south towards another stronger cell. Upon reaching my new target I did see a nice lowered base. Unfortunately with the hills and increasing traffic I wasn’t able to get a clear shot of it before getting hit by the core of the storm. But it was a fun local chase to say the least. And I know it sounds kinda silly to get a kick out of a mediocre shelf cloud. And if this was a chase day in the Great Plains at the peak of tornado season, then yes, I WOULD be disappointed. But I had zero expectations going into this and simply had an enjoyable afternoon documenting a shelf cloud in my local area. No harm in that!

 

Jim

  2 Responses to “Western PA Shelf Cloud”

  1. Nice pictures. Thank you for sharing. My favorite is the one of the rain shaft on the left and shelf cloud on the right. I actually chase in western PA and I love to photograph shelf clouds from a high vantage point. Again, thanks for sharing.
    Laura I.

    • Thanks Laura! It’s so nice to hear from a local chaser. This is definitely a very interesting area to document storms.

      - Jim

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