The Arizona State Parks department is already fielding calls about the possible flower bloom this year and are making plans for the droves of visitors those flowers might bring.
To help the public track the evolution of the delicate fields of blooming poppies, the rangers take pictures and post them on the Arizona State Parks Web site. (www.azstateparks.com)
"We call them Ranger Cams," says Chief of Operations Janet Hawks.
"Our rangers and volunteers take pictures as soon as the flowers start blooming and visitors can then decide when to leave other states to come here and take their pictures. Updated information about flowers at each park will also be posted to help people around the country plan their vacations."
Call the "State Parks Wildflower Hotline" at (602) 542-4988 and customer service staff will provide even more details for long-distance travelers.
"We want the visitors to check the Web site regularly, look at the pictures and then drive out into the surrounding deserts," said Hawks.
According to Picacho Peak Park Manager Rob Young, "At Picacho, the rain data are showing 5.4 inches by the end of January this year, which is the accumulated total since September of 2007.
A great flower year was 2001 when there was 5.77 inches of rain by the end of January, so we believe with the rains in February, there should be some magnificent Mexican poppy blooms. The mountain is greening up and we see the small plants are looking healthy this year."