In years of good rains the Arabian desert is carpeted briefly in spring with grass and wild flowers (Aramco World, January-February, 1968). During the 1973-1974 rainy season in northern Saudi Arabia, along the frontier with Iraq and Jordan, the rains came early, they came abundantly and—most important in a desert area where a few days' downpour one season frequently exceeds the entire rainfall of another year—they came with some consistency. Dry river beds (wadis ) which usually flood but once a year flowed with something like the regularity of normal streams. Some high areas received a brief mantle of wet snow.
It was, in fact, the wettest winter season in the 19 years for which written records have been kept. During the period from October to May the average rainfall measured at four stations over a 500-mile length of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline came to 6.48 inches, compared to the 19-year average of 3.27. The previous high of 5.92 was in 1967-68 and the low, a meager .4 inches, fell in 1970-71. The result of this year's rains was not only welcome pasturage for Bedouin flocks, but also an unusually colorful view of Arabia in bloom.