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Potential Super Bloom following several winter storms

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Following several dry, drought-stricken years, mother nature gifted California with an unusually wet rainy season.

The impact of the abundance of rain is on full display at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, with this year looking different than previous years.

Dr. Steve Windhager, the garden's executive director, said, "This year we’re already up to 39 inches of rain, which was about three times what we had last year."

While California’s vibrant, orange poppy is thriving, the opposite is true for other parts of the meadow.

The surplus of moisture and the consistent, back-to-back storms have overwhelmed parts of the garden.

"All the plants that are in this meadow are adapted to deal with the drought conditions that we normally have and so many of them rotted right out," said Windhager.

Otherwise healthy trees have fallen, due the overly saturated soil and the damaging, gusty winds that often accompany the rain.

"The wood's really healthy, there's no rot to it," said Windhager. "The reason it fell over is that the soil couldn't hold it anymore."

If you’ve visited the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in years past, you will notice things look different this year. A notable difference, the raging water at the creek.

"A lot of plants are gonna be blooming this year that oftentimes don’t have enough water to be able to do it, that maybe every few years are able to bloom," said Windhager.

The possibility of a super bloom is at the forefront of most minds as we transition into spring, but there are specific components necessary before our eyes can relish in the spectacle.

Dr. Heather Schneider, a rare plant biologist, said, "There’s a sort of recipe to what causes a super bloom and that starts usually with drought – which is kind of counter-intuitive."

There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of drought conditions here, allowing the seed bank to fill and eventually get flushed with rain water.

"And extended rain also allows for those plants to get big enough that the show can be atypically spectacular," said Schneider.

But there’s still some skepticism.

"We had a little bit of a gap between December and January and some plants got tricked and germinated and flowered when they were pretty small," said Schneider. "So I think that if it doesn’t reach full super bloom, which is still possible, we should still have a really nice show across the Central Coast and Southern California."

Central Coast residents may be fatigued from the wet weather, but the likelihood of a super bloom is on the horizon.

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Article Topic Follows: Weather News
drought impact
rainstorm impact
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
super bloom

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Christa Kurkjian


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