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Unusual Rains Have Death Valley National Park Blooming

Death Valley National Park in the western U.S. state of California is the hottest place in North America, and one of the hottest spots in the world. It hardly ever rains in this forbidding desert with spectacular scenery.

Death Valley is alive with color - fields of yellow plants known as desert gold, as well as purple, white and rainbow flowers. Some plants that have not been seen for years are popping out everywhere.

“Every day, I'm finding a new flower that I have not seen in this environment," said Adele Smith, a desert naturalist. "It is amazing.”

This is how Death Valley looks during the summer when it's more than 50 degrees Celsius - and that's in the shade. It's also the time when many international travelers come to visit, like Yasuko Furuta from Japan.

“I want to experience hot days. It's not like Japan. Not humid. It's dry but hot,” Yasuko Furuta said.

Fifteen centimeters of rain have fallen since last summer - three times the normal. Now, it is possible to paddle a kayak across the normally dry valley floor and go wading by the roadside.

The seeds in Death Valley can survive for years, blossoming only when there is enough water. Some flowers are smaller than a fingertip. Everywhere you look, tourists are taking photos of something that might not be seen again for a hundred years.

“To have in this soil, these colors just magically appear. That's what brings people out. That's what makes me come out” one tourist said.

But when the temperatures soar again, and the rain declines, all the flowers will be gone.