Temperatures in Boise soared to 59 degrees Friday afternoon, tying the record high for Feb. 2 set in 1881, according to the National Weather Service.
There were two record highs in January, which was the sixth-warmest on record. Those were Jan. 18 (58) and Jan. 30 (59).
Even the black bears seem confused by this mild winter.
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A couple of the bears at Idaho Black Bear Rehab in Garden City — America and Liberty — were groggily wandering about on and off this January, which was much warmer in the Treasure Valley than last year. It’s possible they came out of hibernation to look for snacks, but the weather is likely a factor, said the founder and president of the rehabilitation center.
“I do suspect if it had been a winter like last year, they wouldn’t have come out at all, but again, it’s their bodies and their decision that dictates,” said Sally Maughan, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
The contrast between the snowy, frigid winter of 2016-17 and this winter is stark when you look at the climate data.
One-tenth of an inch — that’s how much measurable snow fell at the Boise Airport during all of January this year, according to the National Weather Service.
A trace of snow was recorded on five other days, but otherwise, the first month of 2018 was pretty much a bust for snow.
Longtime residents of the Treasure Valley are familiar with the concept of “ski and tee,” or “tee and ski” — the idea of skiing and golfing on the same day in this area. It may be a more popular idea in the spring, but during a winter like this it’s also possible.
“We’ve had years where we’ve played every day and not been shut down at all,” said Warm Springs Golf Course Manager Blake Mason, who has worked at the course for 30 years.
Last winter, Warm Springs was shut down for about three months due to snow. This season, it was closed from Dec. 24 until Jan. 12. Sunshine, wind and temperature affect how many people turn out to play.
“Sunday and Monday were busy because it was in the high 50s,” Mason said. He recommends golfers call ahead in the winter, as frost can delay opening time. Also, there are a lot of geese on the course at this time of year, so don’t wear your best golf shoes.
What happened to winter? January is normally the second snowiest month of the year for Boise, behind December. The norm for December is 7.1 inches of snow, while in January we typically see 5.1 inches.
Last year, we were at the other end of the spectrum: 21.5 inches of snow, ice and hail in January, about four times more than normal.
Not snowy but wet. Just because there wasn’t snow doesn’t mean it was a dry month. In fact, the 1.36 inches of precipitation recorded is almost a quarter-inch above normal. We had numerous weepy or notably wet days, and one minor deluge of almost a half-inch on Jan. 9.
A spot in the top 10 warmest January list. This January was also one of the warmest on record, placing sixth on the list of top 10 warmest.
The city normally has a couple of 50 degrees or above in January; this year we’ve had eight.
The average temperature in January, not including Wednesday, was 37.8 degrees, about 6.6 degrees above normal.
The highest temperature of the month was 59 degrees on Tuesday, Jan. 30, about 19 degrees above normal. The lowest was 18 degrees on Jan. 2.
February looks even warmer. The warm trend will continue into February, as the forecast shows the first week of February with highs in the mid- to upper 50s.
Sunday and Monday are forecast to hit 58, compared with a normal of 41.