Warm January melts mountain snow

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - For most of January the Treasure Valley languished under a bitter cold inversion, but up in the mountains it felt like April, with highs in the 50s and sunny skies every day. Now, as we head into the last month of winter, Idaho's most precious resource, water, is running a little low.

"The low-elevation snowpacks are only about half of average in a few areas below 6500 feet. And that's because of the poor start we got back in November and December from those storms that came in. They allowed the moisture to fall as rain rather than snow," snow surveyor Ron Abramovich says.

The Boise & Weiser river basins are only 75 percent of normal while the Payette river basin is at 85 percent. If February and March bring a lot of snow to the mountains, then there won't be a problem.

"But if it dries out, then water users will have to start making decisions. 'Am I going to have enough water to water the crops,' or 'How are we going to top off the reservoirs,'" Abramovich says.

Idaho needs the water from its reservoirs for agriculture and recreation and if there isn't enough, expect the local economy to take hit in the summer.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an average amount of precipitation for the next three months.