Desert sand verbena
For the second time in a week, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department issued a traffic advisory for the Borrego Springs area March 17 — too many visitors in town to see the desert wildflowers. The notice stated weekend visitors should “expect traffic delays up to several hours on roads leading in and out of Borrego Springs.”
Although the Sheriff’s Rural Command advises to visit on the weekdays, Sue from La Costa drove out the day before — a Wednesday. “The town was packed. We couldn’t get into any restaurants to eat. But the flowers were beautiful,” she said.
“It’s a mega-bloom, meaning out of the ordinary,” said Hilda from the chamber of commerce. “Longtime residents are saying it’s the biggest bloom seen in the last 30 years.”
Temperatures have been in the 90s for about a week. The early-season high heat was thought to perhaps bring a quick end to the spring bloom.
“We have caterpillars out there now,” said Hilda, noting that caterpillars eat the flowers. “But with over seven inches of rain this season, we’re going to be in good shape for a long time to come.”
Temperatures are expected to fall back to normal for this time of year — high 70s and low 80s, for the next several weeks. Hilda also recommended visitors avoid the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitors Center.
“They’re so overwhelmed up there,” said Hilda. “There’s no place to park. We suggest come into town to the chamber’s Village Information Center. We have maps and all the information to go out and see the flowers. We have snacks and water and have placed portable restrooms around the town,” she said. (The center is open 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., seven days a week.)
The sheriff’s department reminded that violations would be issued for stopping a vehicle in the middle of the road. “Find a legal spot to park on the side of the road or in a parking lot,” the advisory read.
The town maintains a wildflower hotline, with daily updated information on the “mega-bloom”: 760-767-4684.