Rain-fed wildflowers have been sprouting from California’s desert sands after lying dormant for years — producing a spectacular display that has drawn record crowds and traffic jams to tiny towns like Borrego Springs.
An estimated 150,000 people in the past month have converged on this town of about 3,500, roughly 85 miles northeast of San Diego, for the so-called super bloom.
Wildflowers are springing up in different landscapes across the state and the western United States thanks to a wet winter. In the Antelope Valley, an arid plateau northeast of Los Angeles, blazing orange poppies are lighting up the ground.
But a “super bloom” is a term for when a mass amount of desert plants bloom at one time. In California, that happens about once in a decade in a given area. It has been occurring less frequently with the drought. Last year, the right amount of rainfall and warm temperatures produced carpets of flowers in Death Valley.
So far this year, the natural show has been concentrated in the 640,000-acre (1,000-square-mile) Anza Borrego State Park that abuts Borrego Springs.