March 24, 2019
After experiencing 7 years of alarmingly arid conditions, California has finally been declared drought-free and it has resulted in a surge of butterflies and wildflowers.
Recent reports from the U.S. National Drought Mitigation Center relay that California has been experiencing some form of drought since December 20th, 2011 which is 376 consecutive weeks in total or 7.2 years.
Since 2017, California conditions have been improving when experts happily reported an abundance of rain and snowfall during the winter season.
The rain and snow reduced the amount of drought-affected state land from 97% in 2016 to just 57%. Around the same time in 2017, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that America’s nationwide drought had finally come to an end after three years.
At this time, only 7% of California is experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions – but experts reassure that these areas of southern California are expected to improve.
Thanks to the abundance of snow and rainfall across the rest of the state, reservoirs have been replenished; water levels have returned to normal; and mountains across northern California are snowcapped once more.
What a difference 5 months make, snow capped mountains and plenty of greenery in the valley! You can also see water in the Yolo Bypass west of Sacramento from recent rains on the right image. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/J2Q9MpZVYh— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) March 14, 2019
Furthermore, the rain has spurred a breathtaking wildflower super bloom in certain parts of the state. Super blooms generally only occur once every decade, but this is now the second super bloom that California has experienced in just a few short years (here is where you can find the best places to experience the bloom).
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve during blooming time
The super bloom has also resulted in a boom of the “painted lady” butterfly species.
According to the New York Times, clouds of butterflies migrating through Southern California are captivating onlookers who are relishing the otherworldly spectacle.
The article goes on to state "The striking thing is they’re moving very rapidly and directionally,” said Professor Shapiro, who has studied butterfly migrations in California for more than 40 years. “So it’s almost like being in a hail of bullets.”
The rain caused plants to thrive, giving the painted lady caterpillars plenty of food to fuel their transformation, said Arthur M. Shapiro, a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis.
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