Living on the dry line is just ‘such’ fun sometimes…

It’s the dotted red line cutting through Kansas, Oklahoma and north Texas. And pretty much right over our houses!

Dry Line, also known as a Marfa line (After Marfa, Texas, which is the ‘southern’ end of the line) is a boundary separating moist and dry air masses, and an important factor in severe weather frequency in the Great Plains. It typically lies north-south across the central and southern high Plains states during the spring and early summer, where it separates moist air from the Gulf of Mexico (to the east) and dry desert air from the southwestern states (to the west). The dry line typically advances eastward during the afternoon and retreats westward at night. However, a strong storm system can sweep the dry line eastward into the Mississippi Valley, or even further east, regardless of the time of day. A typical dry line passage results in a sharp drop in humidity (hence the name), clearing skies, and a wind shift from south or southeasterly to west or southwesterly. (Blowing dust and rising temperatures also may follow, especially if the dry line passes during the daytime. These changes occur in reverse order when the dry line retreats westward. Severe and sometimes tornadic thunderstorms often develop along a dry line or in the moist air just to the east of it, especially when it begins moving eastward.

It pretty much goes right over us in North Texas, and yesterday was a perfect example…

Hot and sunny until about 1540, then ‘pop up’ clouds started forming, pretty much on a north/south line. And it started cooling off, quickly!

94 down to 72 in less than an hour.

And then it sat on top of us for almost two hours, building and building and dumping rain. Right at 1 1/2 inches 1600 to 1730. Add lightning, and winds gusting to probably 40 kts, and it got a little interesting…

But, as far as I know, nothing ‘major’ developed out of this particular one…


Weather… — 11 Comments

  1. At least you receive some respite from the heat. Down here along the Texas / Mexico border RGV area, we still have close to ‘100 degrees – over 90 fer shure’ expected for at least another month. Winter can’t come to soon, I’m tired of infernal blast furnace summer !

    Can do without the weather dramas though – glad to hear your storm wasn’t really bad. We could sure use that rain down here.

  2. I rode this one out under the house. Dad hollered that a tornado was coming, and we dove under the house through a hole in the closet floor. It was dropping as it passed over us, and wiped out downtown.

    Dad was a peace officer, and was called to duty at about 2145 that night. He was digging out folks until 2200 the next night.

    That dry line is a very well known phenomena in west Texas.
    It is referenced about half way into this article.

  3. Likely the dry line has something to do with either global warming or global cooling, but which one? It might be both at the same time.

  4. Anon- Yeah, your problems are the heat and LACK of rain. Hopefully it will get better. The RGV is an interesting phenomena due to the flows you get due to the river and valley shapes.

    STX- Wow! I vaguely remember hearing about the Lubbock storm, I remember my aunt and uncle having a tornado shelter right out the back door, and using it more than once.

    LL- It’s a fact of the environment out here. It’s been around as long as recorded weather for the area, and it moves east during the daytime, creating stuff like yesterday, at night, it retreats west, ‘usually’ stopping storm production.

  5. I’m certain you can set Condition Zebra in record time, but that doesn’t mean we’re not concerned for you & your neighbors. Stay safe & keep a weather eye.

  6. Can relate living in the Rocky Mountain’s rain shadow. Your dry line can contribute to our monsoons and slot canyon flash floods.

  7. CP- Yeah, right…LOL

    Rev- Thanks! And we do…

    Brig- It can be! 😉

    WSF- Yep, depending on how far it ‘backs up’ at night.

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  9. Quit hogging our rain, dang it! Send it back, we need it again. We’re see-sawing between 81 and 98, dewpoints 50s to 20s (you can guess which goes with which). Enough with the summer already. 😛