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California hillsides are exploding with wildflowers after epic rainfall. Here’s what it looks like from space

<i>Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>After one of the wettest winters on record
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg/Getty Images
After one of the wettest winters on record

By Stephanie Elam, CNN

After one of the wettest winters on record, California hillsides are exploding with color. Swaths of yellow and streaks of orange, blue and purple paint the landscape this month as the state enjoys its extraordinary flurry of flowers.

It’s the superbloom.

Springtime road trips on California’s highways bring plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” — not just from the spectacle of so much water in much fuller creeks, rivers and reservoirs, but also from the array of flowers putting on a show along the way.

The Golden State is also a lot greener right now, too — landscapes are so verdant and lush it almost looks like a dreamscape.

The wildflower takeover is dominating hillsides so intensely that the blooms are visible from space. Streaks of poppy orange and bright, lemony yellows can be seen in satellite imagery across canyons and hilltops that for years have been brown, barren areas, making the transformation that much more impressive.

These seas of color draw people out in search of the perfect selfies and frameable family portraits, but many venture off the trails and destroy the precious petals during their escapades.

During the 2017 superbloom, some parks “saw damages from people walking off trails — creating ‘social trails’ — that are still visible,” California Department of Parks and Recreation’s Jorge Moreno said to CNN in an email.

While California hasn’t closed state parks because of the superbloom, at least one town is demanding that tourists stay away.

Lake Elsinore has banned visitors to Walker Canyon after hundreds of thousands of people came each weekend during the 2019 season, trampling wild poppies and disrupting wildlife.

“The county is helping us promote other locations for people to enjoy the poppy flowers,” said Jovanny Rivera Huerta, the public information officer and special events manager for Lake Elsinore, who noted that, overall, visitors are abiding by new rules.

California’s parks want people to enjoy the superbloom and connect to the great outdoors — but to leave the flowers alone.

“When visiting outdoor public spaces, State Parks advises visitors to stay on designated trails and take only photos, not flowers,” said Moreno. “The best way for blooms to last is for them to stay alive and run their life course naturally and not by visitors either stepping on them or picking them.”

According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, a superbloom depends a lot on the weather. This year’s superbloom will likely last until early May and will be good to better-than-average when all is said and done, depending on location.

Besides all the rain, the weather also stayed cooler longer in some parts of the state — helping to spur the return of these carpets of color.

As temperatures rise, the superbloom will subside, but will be immortalized in images.

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