MAR 20, 2019 4:56 PM PDT

Southern California Super Bloom Causes Chaos

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

A small Southern California town is experiencing an extraordinary poppy super bloom, thanks to an unusually wet and cold winter. The hills surrounding Lake Elsinore are blanketed in golden poppies, visible from the highly trafficked Interstate 15. City officials have stated that this is the most massive bloom they have seen in 30 years. 

In addition to Lake Elsinore, wildflower super blooms are currently occurring nearby in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park. Heavy fall and winter rains combined with colder than usual temperatures created perfect conditions for wildflower seeds to sprout, leading to this massive super bloom. Desert super blooms typically occur every few years and are more common after several years of drought conditions. Against usually dull desert backgrounds, wildflower colors are strikingly vivid and make for excellent photo opportunities. 

This past weekend, social media and local news buzz attracted nearly 100,000 visitors to the small canyon region in Lake Elsinore, leading to chaotic conditions. Limited parking and access to the canyon caused traffic backups for hours, while fights erupted over parking spaces. Residents of the area were outraged at the traffic conditions in their hometown. One visitor was even bitten by a rattlesnake.

The desire for the perfect photo opportunity also led to considerable poppy damage by visitors. Poppies were getting trampled by those walking through the canyon and others using tripods to set up their shot. Flowers were picked for souvenirs and photo props.

Due to concerns over the safety of the visitors and the poppies, Lake Elsinore officials were forced to shut down access to the fields temporarily. Access reopened this week, and local officials are devising a plan to handle another influx of sightseers this coming weekend. 

Sources: CBS News, BBC, NASA Earth Observatory

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
JAN 21, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Monitoring elephant populations with satellites and deep learning
JAN 21, 2021
Monitoring elephant populations with satellites and deep learning
An exciting development in conservation comes in the form of an automated system that captures high-resolution satellite ...
JAN 22, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Indigneous lands represent more than just conservation opportunities
JAN 22, 2021
Indigneous lands represent more than just conservation opportunities
We’ve heard it before: the lands occupied and stewarded by Indigenous peoples are crucial biodiversity hotspots. N ...
FEB 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Is the Nano-Chameleon the World's Smallest Reptile Species?
FEB 10, 2021
Is the Nano-Chameleon the World's Smallest Reptile Species?
Say “hello!” to the nano-chameleon, a top contender for the world’s smallest reptile. According to the ...
MAR 26, 2021
Plants & Animals
A Massive 17-Year Cicada Swarm will Emerge Soon
MAR 26, 2021
A Massive 17-Year Cicada Swarm will Emerge Soon
The east coast is preparing for one of nature’s greatest spectacles. A gigantic swarm of periodical cicadas is due ...
APR 14, 2021
Technology
How Can Mario Kart Teach Us About Improving World Poverty?
APR 14, 2021
How Can Mario Kart Teach Us About Improving World Poverty?
Rushing down Rainbow Road and receiving power from the floating square icons on the screen, or even slipping on a banana ...
MAY 06, 2021
Earth & The Environment
How big of a risk do tsunamis actually pose?
MAY 06, 2021
How big of a risk do tsunamis actually pose?
New research published in Nature Geoscience suggests that there is a greater risk from earthquakes and tsunamis tha ...
Loading Comments...