Wildflowers in the desert southwest have burst forth in a profusion of bloom so rare that some species have regenerated after decades of dormancy. Normally, lack of rain and high temperatures inhibit the season’s length and display. But the weather pattern of El Niño began in November to deliver gentle, soaking rains and has kept temperatures mild, creating what one long-time resident and naturalist, Paul Johnson calls, “the mother of all Springs.”
The annual average rainfall in the area is 6 inches. But thanks to El Niño, plants which began blooming in November have soaked up 7 inches of moisture in just the past 2 months, and are drawing thousands of tourists to witness the splendor.