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3/24/2015 12:12 PM
 

I have been going over the rainfall and temperature ranges year to date. Mainly, trying to wrap my head around why the areas southeast of San Antonio between I-37 and I-10 are not doing well right now.

Here is the departure from normal rainfall from 1/1/2015 to 3/24/2015. Notice the entire state is running at or above normal rainfall during this period.

Here is the month to date for South Texas 3/1/2015-3/24/2015.  Notice the areas south and east of San Antonio are well above normal.


Here is the run down on the Daily Minimum Temperature Departures January 1 - March 22, 2015. which shows the first part of March we were running below normal in daily minimum and maximum temperatures, but since the 17th we are running above normal. So from a temperature factor you would expect a bit of a slow start, especially since many of the first part of March was overcast or cloudy.  This still does not explain why the areas west of I-37 are doing better than the areas east of I-37.  There was a very slight difference in temperature showing lower temperatures toward the east of I-37. It could be that the areas west of I-37 have been getting a bit more sunshine.  I have not seen any data on this, but I do remember that most of the fronts came in from the northeast and stalled just beyond San Antonio. Did this result in more sunny days for the areas west of I-37? 

Bottom-line: All of Texas is doing well rainfall wise since Jan 1. Most of this catch up was in March with the warmer temperatures occurring since March 17th.  So since the fall rainfall was on target, we should expect at least an average wildflower season, but with a late start.  The main concern I have is that the temperatures are now averaging above normal since March 17th.  This might encourage some plants to shoot up bloom stalks before the plant itself matures.  I have seen this in plants near me.  Hopefully these "early" immature blooms are just that and more mature blooms will follow later. We need to still get some rain making systems to come through with sunshine between those systems. We have one in the forecast for Wednesday into Thursday and one next Tuesday. Temperatures are forecasted to moderate back to seasonal norms after the cold front, but the Hill Country could get shot of some really cold air dropping into the lower 40s.

 

 
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3/24/2015 7:18 PM
 
I don't think we should give up hope yet. I've been looking back through my image archives back to 2001 and except for more recent years, the wildflowers were not looking good until at least April, usually April 10-20 for peak bluebonnets in the Hill Country a week earlier for south of San Antonio and Brazos Valley and a week later for Ennis area. In 2007 bluebonnets didn't peak at Muleshoe until around April 26.
I think some recent warmer years have made us too impatient with earlier wildflowers. In 2012 we were already seeing peak bluebonnets in the Hill Country by March 30. With the cool temps and lack of sun, I think the wildflowers need a little time to wake up. The only potential problem I see is grasses and invasives out competing and taking over.
 
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3/25/2015 6:14 AM
 

Gary,

I always appreciate your input. I agree with you, I also have seen fairly wide variance in start dates and peak dates in the Hill Country.  My first Hill Country photos were back in 2001 and it was on Easter 4/15/2001 in Willow City Loop.  The bluebonnets then were not all at peak, but in full bloom.  In 2003, my photos of Willow City bluebonnets were in full bloom by April 6th and past peak by April 17th. In 2004, I took test shots of one location.


3/21/2004
 

Willow City Loop 3/27/2004
3/27/2004

Willow City Loop 4/6/2004
4/6/2004

One of my early shots from the New Berlin area was of a field of phlox and date 3/15/2004


3/15/2004

So there is variability from one season to the next. I remember meeting one of the former mayors of Mason, Texas and he told me that the fields in Mason County always fill in a week later than the roadsides and usually around the middle of April.  Then 2010 came along and we had fields still filling in by 4/27/2010.

 
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