Flowers bloom in Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth

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CHILE–Every spring the trees and flowers bloom here in Connecticut. But that’s not the case everywhere, especially the driest place on Earth.

After a massive rainfall, pink and purple flowers have sprouted in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The desert saw record rainfalls in March and August, so though the bloom occurs every five to seven years, this specific sprouting was significantly more lush than any bloom in nearly two decades, according to NPR.

“The intensity of blooms this year has no precedent,”Daniel Diaz, National Tourism Service director in Atacama, told EFE, the Spanish news service. “And the fact that it has happened twice in a same year has never been recorded in the country’s history. We are surprised.”

More than two dozen died in the resulting floods and mudslides, according to Fox News.

“The Atacama region was punished, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flourishing desert, something that happens only after the rains, this time brought about by El Niño and climate change,”

This year’s especially strong El Nino is partly to blame for the significant rainfall.

The Atacama Desert is so dry that it holds the record for the longest dry period–the desert didn’t see any precipitation from October 1903 to January 1918, according to Arizona State University. In one spot, called Calama, no rain has ever been recorded.

Usually, the area sees .03 to .07 inches of rain per year; on March 27 alone, parts of the desert received .96 inches–more than 14 years worth of average rainfalls in one day, according to the Washington Post!