California Is Officially Drought-Free and Covered in Millions of Flowers

Millions of poppies in all colors of the rainbow are in bloom across California after unusually heavy rainfalls

Mar 25, 2019

The Golden State has been suffering from a 7-year drought that has caused dangerously arid conditions. However, due to increased rain and snowfall this winter, reservoirs have returned to normal levels, and snow once again caps many of the mountains in Northern California.

As a result of the newest rains, California’s wildflowers and butterflies have burst in a magnificent natural phenomenon called a super bloom. Super blooms usually occur once every ten years; however, this is California’s second super bloom in the past three years, making it a particularly unique experience.

The bloom, which is said to be much more breathtaking than 2017’s, The bloom started in the desert and has been making its way towards the shore and into both central and northern California. Some experts suggest that it will even stay by the shore and near the mountains into summer.

The painted lady butterfly, which has been on the decline over the past several years, also surged this month alongside the flowers. Researchers say that they have not seen such an incredible migration of painted lady butterflies in over 14 years.

After 376 consecutive weeks of drought, the rains, which are expected to continue throughout March, are being celebrated.

Tourists have been flocking to the bloom in quantities never seen before. In fact, the small town of Lake Elsinore, where poppies have decorated the landscape, brought in 100,000 tourists on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.  The town wrote on their Facebook page that: “[T]his is something unlike anything we have ever experienced . . . and may never again”.

While parts of Southern California (about 7% of the country) are still “abnormally dry”, experts are confident that the situation will improve there as well.   

Last year, the Drought Monitor also declared the US’s three-year-long nationwide drought officially over.

Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.