Satellites just photographed California’s dazzling ‘super bloom’ of spring flowers from outer space

A woman sits in a super bloom of poppies near Lake Elsinore, California.

caption
A woman sits in a super bloom of poppies near Lake Elsinore, California.
source
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

  • Parts of Southern California are experiencing “super blooms” of flowers.
  • Walker Canyon and the city of Lake Elsinore, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, have an ongoing super bloom of orange poppies.
  • Tourists are clogging the valley’s roads with cars in their efforts to see the flowers.
  • DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 satellite photographed the bursts of color and activity from space on Tuesday.

The hot, dry hillsides of Southern California are normally covered in drab desert scrub. But some of them harbor a colorful secret: millions of flowers that wait for the perfect conditions to bloom.

Over the past month, the just-right combination of ample rain from December and stable cooler temperatures arrived in Walker Canyon, which is about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. This triggered a “super bloom” of dazzling orange poppy flowers that the area typically sees only once every 10 years.

Hordes of tourists have since descended upon the nearby city of Lake Elsinore, filling the roads with traffic and stuffing the hillsides with people who are trying to get a perfect Instagram selfie with the flowers.

People walk in a super bloom of poppies in Lake Elsinore, California on February 27, 2019.

caption
People walk in a super bloom of poppies in Lake Elsinore, California on February 27, 2019.
source
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Meanwhile in space, the bursts of orange color – and miles’ worth of cars – are so dense that the WorldView-2 satellite owned by DigitalGlobe easily spotted the scene from about 480 miles above the planet.

“DigitalGlobe collected a new set of images yesterday (March 19) of the ‘Superbloom’ near Lake Elsinore, California,” a company representative told Business Insider in an email. “The colorful satellite imagery shows the hillsides along Walker Canyon filled with blooming poppies as well as hundreds of cars parked nearby and people hiking along trails in the area.”

What California’s orange super bloom looks like from space

This photo taken by WorldView-2, which launched in October 2009, shows an overview of Walker Canyon (top) and Lake Elsinore (bottom).

southern california orange poppy flowers superbloom lake elsinore walker canyon digitalglobe maxar worldview 2 wv2 satellite photos 1

source
Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

In the image below, the Walker Canyon hiking trailhead begins at left just north of Interstate 15.

Near the on-ramps to the location, scores of vehicles can be seen parked along the roadside.

southern california orange poppy flowers superbloom lake elsinore walker canyon digitalglobe maxar worldview 2 wv2 satellite photos 2

source
Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

Zooming into the trailhead (center left), people can be seen as small dots walking up the hills and toward patches of flowers.

southern california orange poppy flowers superbloom lake elsinore walker canyon digitalglobe maxar worldview 2 wv2 satellite photos 3

source
Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

Northwest of the trail, and a couple of miles west of the city of Perris, California, the orange-poppy super bloom appears especially lush with flowers.

southern california orange poppy flowers superbloom lake elsinore walker canyon digitalglobe maxar worldview 2 wv2 satellite photos 4

source
Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

The bloom – and the surge of interest and visitors it has inspired – is expected to last about one more week, according to Conde Nast Traveler.