The name “Death Valley” creates a certain image in your mind: dust, a ram's skull, maybe some tumble weed, more dust. However, a “super bloom” of wildflowers has been predicted in the area that is known for being the hottest and driest place in North America.
Since mid-January, the notoriously barren eastern California desert has seen a spring of life, with park officials hoping the best is yet to come.
On February 10, the Death Valley National Park Service released a statement saying a bloom of colorful plant life was currently limited to the southeastern part of Badwater Road. But with regular rain predicted to appear over the coming months, they’re holding out for much more floral action.
In a Facebook post in October last year, the national park speculated that an unseasonably wet autumn and regular rains from the El Niño weather pattern could create a rare event called a “super bloom.” Hopes were added to in early February when the valley saw 0.7 centimeters (0.32 inches) of rainfall in a week.
In a statement, the park seemed pretty proud of that showering, saying: "We got that nice soaker that we needed. It's gonna be a fantastic year, folks!"
In the video below, park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg says, “We hope [it] will become a super bloom, which is beyond all your expectations, those are quite rare.”
He added that if the forecasts are correct, it will be a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to witness.
The last Death Valley “super blooms” were seen in 2005 and 1998. Although, smaller flower blooms in Death Valley are more common than its name suggests – usually occurring from time to time between late winter to early summer, depending on the elevation of the area.