Familiar words will return to the forecast in the West later this week: record warm temperatures. So far this year, above-average temperatures have dominated weather conditions in the western United States and this trend appears very likely to continue.
A ridge of high pressure will bring record warm temperatures to much of the West later this week, while a dip in the jet stream will allow below-average temperatures to return to the Northeast, as well as parts of the Midwest and South. This is the pattern that has been in place for most of this year so far, with the jet stream far to the north over western North America and then the jet stream takes a dip in the East allowing cold air to plunge into areas east of the Mississippi River.
Western US will most likely see record-setting warm temperatures
An Iranian man releases a lantern in Tehran on March 17, 2015 during the Wednesday Fire feast, or Chaharshanbeh Soori, held annually on the last Wednesday eve before the Spring holiday of Noruz. The Iranian new year that begins on March 20 coincides with the first day of spring during which locals revive the Zoroastrian celebration of lighting a fire and dancing around the flame.
AFP PHOTO / BEHROUZ MEHRI /GETTY IMAGES
A jogger runs during the sunset after a warm spring day on March 16, 2015, in the Olympic park in Munich, southern Germany. Meteorologists forecast temperatures around 15 degrees and further sun in the region.
AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images
A bee collects pollen from a crocus blossom on March 15, 2015 in Kaufbeuren, southern Germany.
KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images
Hundreds of people gathered at Suruc, Sanliurfa to celebrate the Newroz, the first day of spring. Newroz fire has been lit at Suruc. Suruc is a town at Syrian - Turkey border which is very close to Kobani. Newroz refers to the celebration of the traditional Iranian new year holiday of Newroz in Kurdish society. The festival currently has an important place in the terms of Kurdish identity for the majority of Kurds, mostly in Turkey and Syria. Though celebrations vary, people generally gather together to welcome the coming of spring.
Uygar Onder Simsek/Zuma Press
A youth from the Kurdish community gestures as he holds a flower while posing for a photograph during celebrations surrounding Newroz, which marks the arrival of spring and the new year, in Cizre, in Turkey's Sirnak province on March 18, 2015.
YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images
A wide angle view of the trees and buildings is viewed around Bryant Park on March 12, 2015 in New York.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 12: Russians girls skateboard at the Red Square in Moscow on March 12, 2015. The temperatures in the Russian capital reached today to 12 C.
Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A man photographs pelicans basking in the sunshine on a spring day in Saint James Park in central London on March 11, 2015.
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: People rest on recliners along the East River in lower Manhattan on a day when temperatures reached the upper 50's in New York on March 11, 2015 in New York City. After an unusually cold and snowy winter, New Yorkers are welcoming the recent spate of warm and sunny days. Spring officially begins on March 20th.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
VALENCIA, SPAIN - MARCH 15: A Fallero artist works at Falla de Plaza del Pilar during the Fallas Festival on March 15, 2015 in Valencia, Spain. The Fallas festival, which runs from March 15 until March 19, celebrates the arrival of spring with fireworks, fiestas and bonfires made from large Ninots (puppets).
Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
VALENCIA, SPAIN - MARCH 19: Fallas festival is celebrated by the people in Valencia, Spain on March 19, 2015. Many wooden monuments and figures were made for the festival and they were burned after being displayed in the streets. The festival, running from March 15 until March 19, also celebrates the arrival of spring with fireworks, fiestas and bonfires made by large puppets named Ninots.
Photo by Evrim Aydn/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: A gardener attends to the blooms in St James's Park on March 2, 2015 in London, England. Yesterday saw the meteorological start of Spring in the United Kingdom.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
VALENCIA, SPAIN - MARCH 20: A 'Ninot' (puppet) depicting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy burns during the last day of the Las Fallas Festival on March 20, 2013 in Valencia, Spain. The Fallas festival, which runs from March 15 until March 19, celebrates the arrival of spring with fireworks, fiestas and bonfires made by large puppets named Ninots.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
A partial solar eclipse of the sun is visible with its reflection the 'Heart of Jesus Church' in Budapest on March 20, 2015 during the first day of the astronomical spring.
ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
Sabrina Fink dressed as the 'sun' waves during the spring festival 'Sommergewinn' (summer win) in Eisenach, Germany, Saturday, March 14, 2015. During the 'Sommergewinn' the spring wins a symbolical victory over the winter.
AP Photo/Jens Meyer
Sabrina Fink dressed as the 'sun' and her 'sun children' wave during the spring festival 'Sommergewinn' (summer win) in Eisenach, Germany, Saturday, March 14, 2015. During the 'Sommergewinn' the spring wins a symbolical victory over the winter.
AP Photo/Jens Meyer
An Indian boy smear colored powder on a girl as they celebrate Holi in Bangalore, India, Friday, March 6, 2015. Holi, India's joyful and colorful celebration of the arrival of spring along with several religious myths and legends, has long ago ceased to be only a Hindu festival. The streets and lanes across most of India turn into a large playground where people off all faiths throw colored powder and water at each other.
AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
An elderly Nepalese woman stands with her face smeared with colored powder during celebrations marking Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, March 5, 2015. The festival also marks the advent of spring.
AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha
In this Monday, April 13, 2015 photo, an Egyptian vendor blows bubbles at the Giza Zoo, as the country marks Sham el-Nessim, or âsmelling the breeze,â in Giza, Egypt. The holiday signifies the arrival of Spring, a uniquely Egyptian tradition practiced since the days of the Pharaohs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
In this Sunday, April 19, 2015 photo hikers walk past blooming fruit-trees near Wiesenthau, southern Germany. (Nicolas Armer/dpa, via AP)
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Record Warm Temperatures to End the Week
The warmth expands out of the Desert Southwest into the Pacific Northwest and Rockies Thursday into Friday as the ridge of high pressure slides into the West. Above-average temperatures will then spread across the West and into parts of the Plains this weekend.
Here's a look at the potential for record-breaking temperatures day-by-day:
Thursday: High temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees above average from southern Arizona through Nevada, California and into Oregon and Washington.
Friday: Above-average temperatures expand to envelop the entire Rockies from Montana to New Mexico, while temperatures will remain warm through the Southwest and along the West Coast. Highs will reach the 70s for much of the northern tier, with 80s and 90s in parts of California, Nevada and Arizona.
As of March 21 the following cities have seen their warmest March on record (their average temperature, the average between the low and high temperature, for the month of March is in parentheses): Los Angeles Downtown (67.7), San Diego (66.3), Santa Barbara, California (63.6), Long Beach, California (66.6), Boise, Idaho (48.8), Portland, Oregon (51.7), Wenatchee, Washington (49.4) and Yakima, Washington (48.8).
Salinas California is also experiencing their warmest March on record, with an average temperature of 61.53 degrees. Salinas has also seen the warmest start to the year with an average temperature of 59.27 degrees from January 1 to March 21 (80 days), which is more than 2 degrees higher than the previous warmest January 1 through March 21 period (56.95) which was in 2014.
In addition, Salinas also recorded their warmest February, January and December this past winter and has had a top-10 warmest month since July.
Downtown Los Angeles has also tied the record for most 80 degree days year-to-date. Through March 22, Los Angeles has reported 21 days with high temperatures at or above 80 degrees.
The forecast through the end of March calls for the above-average temperature trend to continue, so many more cities will likely be added to the list of record warmest March.