UNITED STATES NEWS

Wet winter gives way to colorful ‘Superbloom’ in US West

Apr 14, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2023, 11:16 am

The tiny rain-fed wildflowers, no bigger than a few inches, are so vivid and abundant across California this year that their hues of purple and yellow look like paint swatches from space.

From the mist-shrouded San Francisco Bay area to the deserts of Arizona near the Mexican border, there are flashes of color popping up after an unusually wet winter helped produce a so-called “Superbloom.”

A series of powerful storms dumped record amounts of rain and snow across California, replenishing reservoirs, bringing an end — mostly — to the state’s three-year drought, and setting prime conditions for millions of dormant seeds to sprout. Botanists say wildflowers are expected to be blooming well into May, with some areas just starting.

“One of the things unique about this year is how incredibly widespread it is,” said Naomi Fraga, director of conservation programs at the California Botanic Garden. “It’s pretty spectacular.”

Superblooms often follow wet winters, according to experts. University of California ecologists have counted 10 Superblooms in Southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert over four decades. Nine of the 10 blooms occurred after winters when precipitation was higher than average.

In Arizona’s deserts, blue lupine and orange poppies surround towering saguaro cactus, while delicate orchids dot Northern California’s forests, like the calypso orchid or “fairy-slipper.”

North of Los Angeles, visitors from around the globe have been making the trek to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve to see the burst of orange and yellow flowers, which extended well beyond the park’s borders this year. On a recent afternoon, people pulled over along the freeway to shoot selfies with California’s official state flower.

In the low desert of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, too many wildflowers have sprouted up to list, according to the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants. The barren landscape has come alive with Canterbury bells, purple mat and yellow cups.

Fragrant blooms can be smelled from car windows, and their colors captured from space.

Satellite images of Carrizo Plain National Monument, just west of Bakersfield, California, taken on April 6 and released by NASA, show valleys surrounded by craggy mountains with a coating of deep purple. Images of the same area from the previous year when California was in severe drought showed it was mostly brown.

“Extensive patches of blue tones invade the view of places,” actor Joe Spanos said Friday, narrating the foundation’s report on its wildflower hotline about what can be seen in the Carrizo Plain region.

He goes on to describe driving along the base of Mount Figaro and spying “yellow buttercups, beautiful blue fiesta flowers and sky lupines, dazzling white milkmaids and popcorn flowers. There are shooting stars scattered about too. Nuggets of California golden violets can be found embedded everywhere.”

Experts ask people to not trample the flowers. One small city recently closed a popular viewing area after being bombarded during previous Superblooms.

United States News

A general view during rehearsals at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Su...

Associated Press

The Latest: RNC set to begin in the aftermath of Trump assassination attempt

The Republican National Convention kicks off this week, with delegates and officials descending on Wisconsin amid the tumult that follows a Saturday assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump as he prepares to become the GOP’s official nominee. The quadrennial event takes place not only as Trump leads a party in lockstep behind him, but […]

53 minutes ago

Work continues on the roof of Gaido's restaurant in preparation for opening for diners for the firs...

Associated Press

In beachy Galveston, locals buckle down without power after Beryl’s blow during peak tourist season

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Vacuums sucked the water out of the seaside inn run by Nick Gaido’s family in Galveston since 1911 as power was still spotty nearly one week after a resurgent Hurricane Beryl swept into Texas. Blue tarp covered much of the torn off roof. Gaido scheduled cleanup shifts for the hotel and […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Balloons are hoisted to the ceiling in the Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Conve...

Associated Press

When does a presumptive nominee become a nominee? Here’s how Donald Trump will make it official

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday 12:01 AM Nearly 2,500 delegates are gathering in Milwaukee this week for a roll call vote to select a the Republican presidential nominee, formally ending the presidential primary. It will be a moment lacking in suspense: Former President Donald Trump has already been the presumptive nominee for months, having clinched a […]

9 hours ago

Members of the Coalition to March on the RNC speak during a news conference ahead of the 2024 Repub...

Associated Press

GOP convention protests are on despite shooting at Trump rally

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Activists gathering in Milwaukee for the start of the Republican National Convention say the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump won’t affect their long-standing plans to demonstrate outside the convention site this week. A diverse range of organizations and activists is expected outside the downtown Fiserv Forum. The largest expected demonstration […]

9 hours ago

FILE - Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair while addressing delegates during the Republic...

Associated Press

Floor fights, boos and a too-long kiss. How the dramatic and the bizarre define convention history

WASHINGTON (AP) — In 1948, the Republican and Democratic parties did something unthinkable in today’s climate of ferocious political animosity: They not only held their national conventions in the same city, but shared some of the props. Both gathered in Philadelphia, largely because its Municipal Auditorium had already been fitted with the wiring needed for […]

9 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Associated Press

The RNC’s first day will still focus on the economy. Here’s what to know about Trump’s plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with bold promises about the U.S. economy, but he has sketched out notably few details about how his plans would actually work. The convention’s first day is still expected to focus on the economy even after Saturday’s shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Wet winter gives way to colorful ‘Superbloom’ in US West