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HomeHomeWildflower Seas...Wildflower Seas...TexasTexasSpring 2019 Wildflower Season - Fall Rainfall AnalysisSpring 2019 Wildflower Season - Fall Rainfall Analysis
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11/1/2018 12:40 PM

Spring 2019 Wildflower Season - Fall Rainfall Analysis

Date: November 1, 2018
Summary: Rainfall for September and October was well above normal for nearly all of Texas. Given that most of our annual spring wildflowers germinate in the early fall months, the current fall rainfall should be a good thing. And if fall rainfall was the only factor we would be on the way to one of the most interesting seasons that I have ever seen. However, I do have some concerns…

My Concerns:

Too much rainfall in some areas can actually be counterproductive and result in less than normal germination. Areas that drain well, should be good to go for at least normal germination given there are not any other negative factors like invasive species or dead vegetation that could prevent or hinder germination.  Some parts of the Ennis area for example do not drain well and yet other parts do. This means the low-lying areas might have had too much standing water for too long to allow for normal germination of seeds. Also, flash flooding in the Texas Hill Country can move top soil around covering some seeds and uncovering others.
Competition from invasive plants and dead vegetation is a major negative factor for germination.  In October, I traveled I-10 from Sealy, Texas to Comfort during two separate trips. The grass was thick along most of that stretch of highway. It looks like mowers missed the August mowing. Other dead vegetation was still covering areas as well. I saw similar conditions along a few other roads in the Comfort area. Where there is competing vegetation like invasive grasses or even dead vegetation that could prevent or hinder germination. 
Winter temperatures are forecasted be above normal for December through January. Our cool season bluebonnets need to have normal or slightly below normal temperatures during the months of December through February. I have seen several potentially great seasons for bluebonnets fall apart in March due to well above normal temperatures in February.


If you have not yet read my post about what makes a good wildflower season please do so now - 
September Rainfall: September rainfall was well above normal especially for the extended Hill Country, South Texas and the Coastal Regions. The most critical time for rainfall in September is usually from mid-September on which is when the fall germination usually begins.
September 2018 Departure from Normal Rainfall
October Rainfall: October rainfall was well above normal for most all of Texas. Some parts of the Hill Country received over 10 to 15 inches which is well above the typical 4 inches for October. Most of the Hill Country has soils and topography that drain well, so the extra inches should not be a negative. However, the flash flooding definitely could have moved soil and seeds around so that some areas we usually expect to see covered with blooms might have less and others areas more. I do think it will be interesting to see what does come from all the extra rainfall.
October 2018 Departure from Normal Rainfall
El Niño Watch: NOAA has issued an El Niño Watch for the winter months – “El Niño is favored to form in the next couple of months and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19 (70-75% chance).” The El Niño is expected to be a weak one, and the NOAA prediction is for above normal rainfall with a 33% chance of above normal temperatures for much of Texas. The rainfall for late January through February is needed, but near normal or slightly below normal temperatures are also needed. -
Winter 2018-2019 Forecasts: As of right now, it is not looking like we will have a winter with below normal temperatures, but that could change with variations in other weather systems like the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations.  NOAA is leaning towards above normal temperatures for most of the USA.  Near normal or slightly below normal temperatures for December through February is better for our cool season wildflowers like our bluebonnets.

NOAA: Slightly above normal temperatures for Texas - Dec through January. -
AccuWeather: Periods of below normal temperatures for Texas possible.  - Near or slightly below average temps for Texas. -
Conclusion: It is way to early for me to go out on a limb and predict we will have an amazing spring wildflower season in 2019. We have to get through December through February with at least normal rainfall and near normal to slightly below normal temperatures.  I am “cautiously optimistic” that we are on track for at least a very interesting wildflower season. I am very excited to see what will develop.  Stay tuned for my winter analysis in late January to early February when I hope to have some initial field reports on the status of seedling/rosette coverage for areas in the Hill Country and San Antonio. I am also working on a comparison piece that will compare this season to the 2010 season which most consider to be one of the best all time spring wildflower season.  And for 2019, I hoping to have out a new eBook covering the best Texas Bluebonnet and other Wildflower Routes. Follow us on Facebook at: and on Twitter at: 
And the answer to the most often asked question I get can be found in this article, “When Should I Come To See Texas Wildflowers” -
HomeHomeWildflower Seas...Wildflower Seas...TexasTexasSpring 2019 Wildflower Season - Fall Rainfall AnalysisSpring 2019 Wildflower Season - Fall Rainfall Analysis