The dryline is recognized as a major factor in the initiation of severe thunderstorms in the central and southern plains of the United States during the spring. Although severe thunderstorm forecasters often use the strength and position of the dryline to help determine prime areas for convective development, relatively little is known of the exact mechanisms by which thunderstorms form in the dryline environment. In the spring of 1991 experiments were carried out to study the dryline and convective storms near the dryline as part of the Cooperative Oklahoma Profiler Studies program, which was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Observing systems deployed in these experiments included a research aircraft equipped with both in situ instrumentation and a Doppler radar, two mobile laboratories capable of remote release of rawinsondes, a surface mesonetwork, the Profiler Demonstration Network, and several ground-based Doppler radars. Among the episodes intensively observed during the period were several in which tornadic storms formed in the dryline environment. The goals of the dryline experiments are described. The key weather events and observing strategies are summarized for four of the cases. Primary issues that can be addressed in future in-depth studies using these datasets are noted and preliminary findings from analyses done to date are included.

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National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Norman, Oklahoma

+School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma