Warm West Sunshine on the Way

April 22, 2012; 6:35 AM ET
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A pattern change is on deck for the West that will feature warmth and sunshine on a regular basis for areas that have seen little in recent weeks.

A dip in the jet stream (high-level, steering currents in the atmosphere), has been situated over the Northwest during the early spring.

The pattern brought frequent strong storms, and rounds of late-season snow to the high country.

In the past week or so the jet took on more of a west to east pattern across the northern United States, allowing weaker, faster-moving storms.

Beginning late this week and lasting into the weekend, the jet stream will be flung well to the north into western Canada. With this setup, storms will be forced away from the western U.S, allowing more sunshine and temperatures generally much warmer than average.

The pattern will afford the eastern U.S. opportunities for needed rain and an unusual chill.

Temperatures in much of California, Washington and Oregon have been averaging 1 to 3 degrees below normal since March 1. Farther inland over the West, temperatures have trended to and above normal.

However, the warmth coming to the West is likely to yield temperature departures of 10 to 20 degrees above normal over at least a several-day stretch.

The warmth will reach into the high country, prompting an accelerated thaw and runoff, leading to rises and fast flows on streams and rivers.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, the above-average rain and snow in the past month has helped with precipitation deficits during the past winter.

The first 100-degree temperatures of the season are forecast for areas in the Southwest.

While this sort of pattern can bring gloomy conditions to coastal areas, it appears the marine flow will be rather weak during part of the event.

Coastal cities from Seattle to San Diego will get to share in some of the warmth, at least initially.

The weather at the Coachella Festival this weekend will live up to its reputation of being hot and dry with blazing sunshine, unlike last weekend's chilly, gusty showers.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "The first part of the warm weather will occur with a Chinook event centered over Montana Friday."

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