Satellite images show Southern California's beautiful super bloom from space

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Satellite image taken March 19, 2019 near Lake Elsinore, California shows the hillsides blanketed with colorful poppies. (Photo credit: Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company)

The wildflowers blooming in a Southern California city are so vibrant, you can see the breathtaking display from space.

Colorful satellite imagery taken March 19 near Lake Elsinore shows the beautiful poppies blanketing the hills of Walker Canyon. Maxar collected the new set of images, showing the area’s bright patches of orange and yellow, as well as hundreds of cars parked along the roadway and visitors hiking on trails.

Heavy winter rains spawned the super bloom of flowers near Lake Elsinore, about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, and elsewhere around California.

About 150,000 people over the weekend flocked to see the natural display near the city of about 66,000 residents.

City officials had tried to prepare for the massive crowds drawn by the super bloom, a rare occurrence that usually happens about once a decade because it requires a wet winter and warm temperatures that stay above freezing.

Sunday traffic got so bad that Lake Elsinore officials requested law enforcement assistance from neighboring jurisdictions. At one point, the city pulled down the curtain and closed access to Walker Canyon.

"It was insane, absolutely insane," said Mayor Steve Manos, who described it as a "poppy apocalypse."

By Monday the #poppyshutdown announced by the city on Twitter was over and the viewing area was reopened.

On Thursday, city officials discussed plans to address the challenges related to thousands of visitors flocking to the area.

No parking will be allowed on weekends. The only way to access Walker Canyon will be by a shuttle service, which will cost $10 per rider. The shuttles will run from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More deputies will also be deployed in the area to help with crowd control. 

"I would like to remind the public that it is illegal to stop and park on the freeway to look at these flowers," Lt. John Tyler of the California Highway Patrol said. "It's illegal to stop and park and get out of your car and start walking around. It's very dangerous, so please go to the designated areas where you're allowed to park, and then from there, take the appropriate shuttles."

Travelers flying in and out of Los Angeles International Airport were also treated to the rare visual spectacle of large wildflower fields coming into bloom between runways.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.