As I had a couple of days of from work and the season had been quite slow so far, I fancied a chase. Instabillity was present over France and with daytime heating airmass storms should form there during the day. Ben Lankamp wanted to join me during the long ride, but had to work during the morning hours. At 14 LT we left Soest, heading south. Weather conditions in Holland were sunny and hot, with highs between 30 and 33 degrees. As there were lots of road constructions near the city of Antwerp, we decided to use the Westerschelde-tunnel instead, and so avoided driving thru Antwerp. While driving in Belgium, near Gent, the first Altocumulus clouds appeared. Unfortunately a piece of debris struck my windshield, creating a crack.|
At about 17 LT we passed the French border, but storms were far further south, near Paris. We drove on, but as France is a rather big country, found out that Paris was too far for us. So we drove southeast towards Charleville, hoping storms were coming our way. We had a few stops photographing the nice looking Altocumulus clouds and patches. Sometimes midlevel convection with anvils and even faint mammatus clouds could be seen!
Just west of Charleville we played the waiting game on a very nice vantage point. Rolling hills with grain field and all kinds of wildlife. It was really pleasant out there! To our south skies darkened, so a storm must be nearby. A vague high based cloud band was seen, possibly a marker of the approaching outflow. Suddenly the wind picked up, but no rain was seen or thunder heard. On our cell phone we saw the line of storms slowly moving in our direction, with the most active part to our southeast. So we drove off again, but just driving in Charleville we saw a dying storm heading our way. It vanished really fast, leaving an orphan anvil and a high rainbow in virga fallstreaks. Also radar showed the whole line of storms collapsing! What a bust this was. So we decided to head northeast, towards Liège. While driving in the Ardennes mountains we saw a nice sunset and made some pictures of it.
This 12 hour, 900 km chase wasn't worth the effort entirely, but I did enjoy the great scenery in northern France!