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Weather Explainer: What's the difference between a Zonal Flow and Ridge

What Zonal Flow and Ridge patterns mean for Northern California's weekend forecast.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Northern California's cooldown is coming to an end, with temperatures hovering around the 90s by the end of the weekend. 

Before the heat arrives, an upper level trough will give the Sierra a chance of isolated showers with a snow level around 5,500 feet. That trough will push east by Thursday. 

Credit: kxtv

Parts of the Western U.S. will deal with a period of zonal flow, which is the air flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere. The air flow moves from west to east and runs parallel to latitude lines. Generally, areas north of the zonal flow will deal with cool temperatures.

Areas that are south, will have mild temperatures. Our region will deal with a period of mild temperatures.

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The big warmup begins Friday and is expected to last through the weekend. The reason behind this warming trend is the ridge in the upper levels of atmosphere give us warm air aloft and the reason why will see the lower 90s by this weekend.

Credit: kxtv

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