What is the Dry Line?

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What is the dry line? Our next chance for thunderstorms and possibly severe weather is this Friday.

As a dry line moves in from the west, strong to severe storms will fire up along and ahead of it.


What is the dry line? The dry line is a boundary that separates dry air from humid air. Drastic changes in dew points (measure of how much moisture is in the air) are observed across a dry line.

In our case, there will be warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to the east and dry, hot air from West Texas behind it.

The dry line is the yellow scalloped line on a weather map. Dew points ahead of the dry line typically range from the upper 50s to low 70s with winds from the southeast.

West of the dry line, dew points are usually in the 20s and 30s. How does a dry line cause storms? A dry line acts like a cold front. It is a lifting mechanism, where the air lifts, storms form. The dry air behind the boundary lifts the moist air ahead of it, triggering the development of thunderstorms.

This time of year it is not uncommon for tornadic supercells to develop along a dry line. The dry line usually only happens in the middle of the country. It is most commonly found in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska in the spring and summer. Dry lines are extremely rare in other parts of the country.

Get the latest forecast information from NBC 5's team of Weather Experts here.

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