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'Cap' put lid on Wednesday's DFW forecast of severe storms

Perhaps Tarrant County residents breathed a collective sigh of relief Wednesday, when forecasted severe weather avoided their communities.

The set-up sounded like a "perfect storm" scenario: an upper level disturbance and a dry line boundary, both moving in from the west, were supposed to smash into a mass of humid air from the Gulf of Mexico already in place over North Texas.

That spelled the potential for heavy rain, damaging wind, large hail and maybe even a tornado or two, forecasters said.

But it didn't happen, at least not in Tarrant County.

The upper level disturbance was slow to arrive, forecasters said Wednesday, but there was also another factor -- a glitch associated with the dry line.

Normally this boundary separates dry desert air and the moist gulf air, and it sparks storm activity as it pushes east, mingling the dry air with the moist.

But on Wednesday, "we had what we call a cap," said Dan Huckaby, a weather service meteorologist.

The cap, he explained, was "warm air above the surface, which keeps storms from forming."

"Sometimes," he added, "we get some daytime heating which can break the cap. But by the time we had enough of that Wednesday afternoon, the dry line had moved east of us."

Residents might recall when the dry line came and went.

It was around 4:30 p.m. or so, when a dry, roaring wind blew through the area and took the humid air with it, Huckaby said.

"It also pushed the temperature up," Huckaby said. "Our high temperature at DFW Airport was late in the day, actually around 6 p.m., when it got to 89 degrees."

But not every area in Texas was spared Wednesday from severe weather. For example, storm damage was reported in Collin and Grayson counties.

Now get ready for a balmy weekend. It's expected to stay sunny through Monday, with high temperatures ranging from the upper 70s to low 90s.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be in the mid 80s, and Saturday is expected to be the warmest at 91 degrees.

Sunday, however, will only reach the mid 70s, and Monday will be just a few degrees warmer, the weather service said.