California Super Bloom: The Striking Spectacle Drawing in Droves of Tourists

A wetter than average fall and winter (thanks, in part, to heavy rains from an atmospheric river event that led to flooding along the Russian River) pulled California out of its drought last month for the first time since December 2011. Above-normal snowpacks were observed along the Sierra Nevada Range and throughout much of the West as well. In fact, on April 2, 2019, only 6% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought – one of the smallest drought footprints across the continental U.S. on record. These wet conditions from the past months, combined with cool daytime temperatures and cold nights allowed for a rare super bloom of wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert .

Credit: NASA/Jim Ross
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The Pollen Count: How Weather Conditions Affect Seasonal Allergies

As I sit here writing this week’s blog post, I continue to hope that *writing* about springtime will mean that actual springlike weather conditions will occur outside my (deceptively) sunny window. Now that it is April, seasonal allergies are in full swing for many, even up into the northern parts of the United States where full leaf-out is still a few weeks away (see our blog post on phenology for more information on that). Although most of us allergy sufferers are fully aware that there is a seasonal pattern to allergies, it is less commonly known why some seasons are just terrible, while others aren’t as bad.

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Historic Widespread Flooding to Continue Through May

NOAA issued its annual Spring Outlook (April – June 2019) last Thursday, March 21, 2019 which includes outlooks for temperature, precipitation, and flood risk. As those living in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins including Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa are still recovering from recent monumental and devastating flooding, forecasters have declared that above-average spring rain and snow will likely worsen flood conditions through May.

Missouri 111 in Craig, Missouri . Photo courtesy Missouri State Highway Patrol
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Spring Equinox and the National Phenology Network

Spring officially began at 5:58 PM EDT yesterday, and for many of us across the country, it can’t come soon enough. Although the weather may not yet feel like spring (portions of the Northeast US may see accumulating snow within the next few days!), we can definitely notice a difference in the sun. Did you know that the sun angle we see now is the same sun angle we see in mid-October? We are also seeing the days lengthen by about 3 minutes per day in upstate New York (the exact time differs slightly from place to place).

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Spring Thaws and Maple Syrup

Fall foliage in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

When most people think of maple trees in the Northeast, the image above comes to mind: a beautiful array of striking colors at their peak in September and October. But for some people, maple trees conjure up another image- the muddy, springtime season of maple sugaring. Maple sugaring season begins in the early spring, just as the trees are beginning to wake up from a long, cold winter.

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