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Why it's been warmer this winter in Sacramento and colder in the east

3:57 PM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
  • Map of temperatures across the country around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2014.
  • Map of temperatures across the country around 10 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2014.
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SACRAMENTO - The same weather story has been playing out day after day on the news this winter. You see video of warm and sunny conditions in the west, and bundled up folks trudging down the street in the east.

Why do we see such drastically different weather on the same day, for the same latitude? The answer lies in the jet stream, which goes through many changes as it progresses around the globe.

The jet stream is the fast flowing river of air above us, and it is one of the main drivers in changes in the weather. Recently, the jet stream has become stuck between stagnant areas of high and low pressure.  As it rises over a ridge of high pressure, it takes storms and cooler air to the north. When it falls into an area of low pressure, it brings cooler air to the south. This pattern should be changing more often. However, it has stalled, creating warm quiet weather out west and cold active temps back east.

Next week we should see a pattern shift that brings changes to the weather. As the areas of pressure start to move, we will start to cool and the east will begin to thaw.  

By Rob Carlmark, News10 Meteorologist


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