First Alert Weather team explains: What is a dry line?

First Alert Weather team explains: What is a dry line?

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - What is a dry line?

The National Weather Service defines it as a "boundary separating moist and dry air masses, and an important factor in severe weather frequency in the Great Plains."

The dry line is a regular occurrence during the spring and summer across the Great Plains. Locally, moist air streams into the Lone Star State from the Gulf of Mexico. Over west Texas, this air-mass collides with dry air pushing out of eastern New Mexico. The front that separates these two air-masses is known as the 'dry line'.

This air-mass collision is often a battleground for shower and thunderstorm activity. The warm, moist, air is lifted by the dry line. Once it is lifted far-above the surface, moisture cools and condenses to form clouds. If the atmospheric conditions are favorable, these clouds will grow into thundershowers. In unique cases, severe supercell thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes will develop along the dry line front.

In fact, the dry line has produced several notable severe weather events across our area, including the massive F-5 tornado that struck Lubbock in May of 1970. In contrast, the dry line only produces a few fair-weather cumulus clouds on some afternoons.

The dry line is not guaranteed to produce severe weather across our area. However, this particular front is one piece of a puzzle that, if put together just right, can produce severe weather across the KCBD Viewing Area during the spring and summer months.

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