Spring 2017 Texas Wildflower Season
Fall and Winter Rainfall/Temperature Initial Analysis
Despite the threat of a La Niña, overall the rainfall and temperature averages are holding close to the norm for most of Texas. The Hill Country core counties and parts of the Big Bend area are doing better than the rest of the state when it comes to both rainfall and temperatures. The other areas are lagging slightly behind in rainfall. Based solely on rainfall and average temperatures, as 1/17/2017, it appears at least the Texas Hill Country and Big Bend areas are on track for an average spring wildflower season with some spots with the potential for above average displays.
Below normal October Rainfall: The rainfall in October was well below normal for most of Texas. October is one of the critical months for germination of most of our spring wildflowers. Below normal rainfall might mean few seedlings for all areas. You have to have plants in order to have blooms! The September and November totals pushed the 90 day departure from normal rainfall closer to normal to slightly above normal ranges for the Hill Country and Big Bend areas. Due to a bit warmer temperatures in November it could be more seedlings sprouted in November than usual.
October 2016 Depature for Normal Rainfall - Yellow, Orange and Red areas are all below normal.
Sep-Nov 2016 (90 day) Departure from Normal Rainfall - Yellow, Orange and Red areas are all below normal and all other colors are above normal.
Storm Tracks: The current storm tracks are bringing systems in from the Northwest with cut-off lows coming out of the west. This is giving Texas better chances of rain, but shutting off the colder Canadian and Artic fronts which is leading to slightly above normal low temperatures. I have looked at Burnet, Llano and Fredericksburg low temperature averages for December and the first part of January and they look within normal or just slightly above. This is important for two reasons:
- bluebonnets need cold temperatures to help stimulate deeper root systems and better flowering,
- bluebonnet seedlings remain in a small “rosette” during the winter. When the average low temperatures begin to rise above 50 to 60 F, they start to bush up and shoot up bloom stalks. This is usually mid to late March. Last year we saw the average low temperatures rise too early which resulted in fewer and less than dramatic displays.
By early March, I plan to post the Texas Wildflower Report for 2017. This will include rainfall and temperature analysis for each area with predictions on which areas are likely to have a good showing. In addition, I will be including any field reports of bluebonnet rosette coverage.
Also see: "When Should I Come to See Texas Wildflowers?" - http://www.wildflowerhaven.com/Commun...269/scope/posts