2008 Desert Wildflower Forecast

Ron Niebrugge Anza-Borrego, California, Photos, Travel 6 Comments

Carrizo Badlands Overlook in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.
Carrizo Badlands Overlook in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.

Well now I’m officially excited about the wildflower prospects for this year!  Anza-Borrego just received another .4 inches of rain in the last few days to go with the .88 earlier this year, and the person I just talked to at the visitor center said more could still fall today.  It may not be a huge year like 2005, but unlike the past two years, there should be at least some wildflower activity.  I could tell the ranger was excited even though she did say there are no guarantees.  Some of the other southwest desert areas sound even more promising. 

This is the third good rain of the winter to hit the desert southwest – even though the second storm largely missed Borrego, all three storms have hit areas like Palm Springs and Phoenix.  Palm Springs officially received 1.35 of rain in November, 1.15 in December and .68 already in January giving them more then double what they would receive year to date in a normal water year (which begins in October).

Phoenix Arizona and the surrounding areas have also received more than a half of inch of rain in this last storm, and it is still coming down hard there.  I must admit, I feel a bit guilty for taking delight in seeing rain choked highways when looking at the Arizona highway webcams.  I see spring wildflowers, but I’m sure most people looking at those scenes are seeing traffic nightmares.  Phoenix has received over 4 inches of rain in the last couple of months, putting it well ahead of a normal for this winter as well. 

I mention Palm Springs and Phoenix because it is easy to get data on these more populated areas, but many of the surrounding desert areas in between should have experienced a decent amount of precipitation as well.  It is interesting to look at the precipitation maps – rain fall isn’t uniform, one location can receive an inch or more, while nearby areas are largely missed.   

Here is the latest desert wildflower update.

Comments 6

  1. it certainly did rain last night Ron. The local mtns were hardcore this morning. i think I pulled my … while trying to sled. the snow was too deep to accomplish anything… When are you coming back down to So Cal?

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    Author

    Ouch!

    We have a reservation for a month at a campground in Borrego beginning in Mid-February, then a month outside of Phoenix – thus my excitement! If there are wildflowers, I should be at those two locations at the perfect time.

    I have some assignment work in Palm Springs as well. It is sounding good. Might be a good year at the Poppy Preserve as well. Even Death Valley has received some rain.

  3. In 2005, I think the wildflowers at Anza Borrego were at peak around the 1st week and dying by the 2nd due to heavy rains. But that sounds like quite a trip. It is supposed to rain a little more in So Cal later today, don’t know if it will go all the way out to Anza Borrego but you never know.

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    Author

    Yeah, there was a valley near town with a wonderful field of yellow flowers that did get wiped out by a heavy rain in early February, but I felt like the rest of the flowers peaked later in the month and into March. This photo was taken March 1. I guess you never really know – when I was down there last year I asked lots of people when would be the best month and this is what said – I guess I will find out 🙂

  5. Much more rain! It has been a soaker here where I live north of Phoenix. Most areas have received over an inch of rain in the past 24 hours and the foothills and mountains around where I live have had two and even three inches or more of rain. It rained about a half inch up here two or three days ago as well. I’m sure that it will be a great season for wildflowers this year. I can’t believe how green the hills are getting…

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    Author

    O awesome – that is great to hear Christopher, thanks for sharing! I have been following the storm on the Internet and it looks like everyone in the Southwest received a lot of rain, now I’m really excited!

    Thanks,

    Ron

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