california drought

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In some parts of the country, cold weather is threatening crops. Meanwhile, California has been so unseasonably wet that its deserts are experiencing what’s called a “super bloom.” After years of drought, the normally arid desert is lush.

But in California’s largest state park, in the desert south of Palm Springs, nearly four-hour car drive from Los Angeles, visitors are coming from as far as Europe, Africa and Asia to see the “super bloom.” This event is so rare, so special, that looky-loos are causing traffic jams, getting lost in the hillsides and fainting from dehydration — just to take in the beauty.

California Deserts In ‘Super Bloom’ Thanks To A Wet Winter

Photos by Nina Gregory; Bottom photo by Kyle Magnuson/Flickr

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In California, an extremely wet winter put an end to the state’s record-breaking drought. Heavy rainfall also produced welcome spring scenes — like replenished reservoirs and fields in bloom.

“It’s a completely different look,” says Justin Sullivan, a Getty Images photographer who took before-and-after style photos of drought-stricken areas. “It’s just like a velvety green, lush landscape now — compared to just dry, brown, almost like a moonscape before.”

Sullivan’s photos show how one of the wettest winters on record is bringing the land back to life. In early 2014, Sullivan documented the drought at its worst. He shot photos from a helicopter above reservoirs like Lake Oroville.

From Moonscape To Lush: Photographs Capture California Drought’s Story

Photos: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Gov. Brown declares California drought emergency is over.

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Lake Tahoe in April, this year deluged by meters of snow and last year in the middle of the drought.

California’s historic drought has necessitated some pretty novel water-conserving technologies. Take, for example, this clutch of gleaming black extraterrestrial eggs infesting Los Angeles’s municipal watering holes.

It looks like the West Coast is about to be swarming with tens of millions of face-huggers, but these are actually just harmless plastic “shade balls” that the LA Department Of Water And Power deliberately dumped into the city’s reservoir in 2015.

There’s about 96 million balls in the reservoir, which means, even though each individual thingamajig only costs 36 cents, the whole project cost around $34.5 million.

And while dumping the entire GDP of a small state straight into a water supply would ordinarily be labeled a bizarre catastrophe, there’s a good reason for this: the balls reduce evaporation and slow algae growth. The department estimates it saves around 300 million gallons per year, and only looks a little like alien caviar.

7 Giant Crazy Real Things That Look Straight Sci Fi, Son

Folks, you need to care about this drought in California. It is the 5th-largest food producer in the world and the biggest in the States. Thousands of migrants risk losing their jobs as crops are quickly drying up. Food prices will inflate nationwide if this does not get better. Water rations in the state will get stricter and hit low-income communities the hardest. People may need to be moved out of California. Pre-existing inequality will worsen with the economic strain. So how much time do we have to address this? NASA estimates that California has about one year of water left. You NEED to care about this.