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Beyond the 7-day: Mild, drier than normal conditions could continue for...how long?!

Mountain Biker in Boise

Temperatures over the weekend were - simply put - fabulous. Highs were in the low 60's Saturday and Sunday, and we saw a nice mix of sun and clouds across the valley. Spring is here!

Okay, getting ahead of myself there, sorry. It's hard not to though, especially when temperatures right now are resembling temperatures that are considered 'average' in mid to late March! Our unseasonably warm weather pattern began in the final days of January, and has carried over into the first week of February. The strange thing is, it looks like this isn't just a fluke, or a temporary warm-up that won't see the light of day after a few more days in the 50's.

No. Instead, this pattern (and the stubborn ridge of high pressure in the Pacific Ocean responsible for it) looks to stick, and not just this week but likely next week too (and possibly beyond).

Long-range forecasts suggest more of the same

First and foremost, please know that long-range forecasts that look out beyond the 7-day forecast can and often will change. However, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center releases long-range forecasts that look eight to 14 days out, three weeks out, and one month out to give an idea of what kind of conditions are more likely to persist or develop during that time span.

The eight to 14 day forecast (which is valid from February 12-18) suggests there's a better probability that our region will continue to see warmer than average temperatures, with drier conditions (again, compared to normal). Average highs for this time of year are typically in the low 40's in Boise.

The latest computer model runs show consistency with this pattern over the course of the next 10-14 days, meaning if all goes according to 'plan', not much will change with our current weather pattern through the middle of this month (if not beyond).

Even the longer range forecasts (looking three weeks out and at the month of February as a whole) show hints of similar trends continuing. (Again, note that the further out you look, the less reliable the data will be just by rule of time). However, all eyes currently point to warmer than average temperatures sticking around well beyond the 7-day forecast, and possibly through the month of February. Obviously, we will have to wait and see if all of this holds true, but for those wishing for a colder and wetter than average pattern to return, the "odds" aren't looking good.

The double-edged sword of mild winter weather

Clearly, temperatures in the 60's feel fantastic in early February, but the benefit beyond the day-to-day isn't visible to everyone at this point in the season.

Winter enthusiasts, snow lovers and water managers alike are all hoping for a late-season return to winter (or at least a pattern that's more resemblant of the season). Snowpack numbers are lower than they should be, and ski areas want and need the season to extend beyond early February. Mild temperatures will allow snowmelt to happen prematurely, which creates an unfavorable scenario for water managers dealing with the balance of winter runoff and summer water demands.

Another concern with this mild weather stems from the agricultural world, where premature budding or flowering of plants, fruits, grape vines, (the list goes on) could be dangerous. If plants or seeds sprout or bud/bloom prematurely, they're left at risk of freezing and dying as a result of a hard freeze (when temperatures dip and stay at or below 28° at night). This is something we will be monitoring as the season wears on, in case of early blooming. This could also go for the plants and trees in your own yard!

Watch for Updates

Roland Steadham will have updates on this bizarre pattern on KBOI 2News Monday at 4, 5:30, and 10 on Channel 2 (KBOI), and at 9:00 p.m. on the Treasure Valley CW.

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