AUSTIN (KXAN) - The colors of spring are on display in Central Texas. Like many aspects of life here, the wildflowers are at the mercy of how much rain we get.
Damon Waitt with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center calls it an average wildflower season because of our dry fall.
Now is the peak time for bluebonnets. They've partly gone to seed but still beautiful in the Wildflower Center's beds. Periodic rains this spring have helped prolong their season.
The rain is also good for the second wave of wildflowers in the sunflower family that take off now and continue into early summer.
"They're hard to tell apart but you'll see them everywhere," said Damon Waitt, senior director and botanist at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. "Things like Mexican hat and Indian blanket and coreopsis. Those will start to come on strong now through the second half of spring and early summer."
Waitt says the best reports of wildflowers are from Brenham along 290 and near Ennis, Texas.
Drive out to the Hill Country and the yellow flowers are already taking over. More wildflower tourists mean more business for Cindy's shop in Burnet.
"They're out and they're riding around and they get tired and want something to drink or they want to get out of the car and stretch their legs," said Cindy Lamb, owner of All Mixed Up.
Burnet is known as the Bluebonnet Capitol of Texas and hosts the annual Bluebonnet Festival. This was the 30 th year for the event. Residents there know just where to see the best show.
"We kind of have a route we like to send them on where we've seen a lot of the bluebonnets and all the different flowers," said Lamb.
There's also a not so beautiful plant showing up among the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. Bastard cabbage is an invasive flower that chokes out many of the native plants. The lack of fall rain helped keep a prolific weed down some but it's still an issue in many areas.
Bastard cabbage grows about waist high and has a small "highlighter yellow" colored flower.
"If you can get to it safely, without breaking the law and pull it up and bag it and dispose of that in the trash, that's very helpful," said Waitt.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.
Caldwell County residents gathered Thursday evening to organize their fight against a proposed landfill that they say poses a hazard that they don't need.
The pastor of the Austin church attended by the teacher who was killed Thursday in Benghazi remembered him as a spiritual friend dedicated to improving the lives of others.