Friday, June 18, 2021

in-focus

Warm weather propels D.C. cherry blossoms to bloom days ahead of schedule


WASHINGTON - Echoing the sentiments of many Americans itching to get out after a year of hibernation, Washington's cherry blossoms burst Sunday into full-on cotton-candy splendor, several days earlier than predicted.

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The surprisingly swift peak bloom happened ahead of forecasts from The Washington Post and the National Park Service, which had predicted peak bloom between Wednesday and Saturday, and Friday and April 5, respectively.

A little more than two weeks ago, after a chilly February and early March, the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin had hardly developed buds. But the unusually warm weather, particularly since Thursday, when it reached 10 to 20 degrees above average, propelled them through their six stages.

MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Matt McClain

This year's first day of peak bloom is four days head of the average date over the past 30 years and almost a week ahead of the 100-year average of April 3.

March 15, 1990, marks the earliest peak bloom on record, while April 18, 1958, was the latest. Last year, the peak occurred on March 20, tied for the third-earliest on record.

Once peak bloom occurs, the blossoms can remain on cherry trees for another week or so if it's warm and winds are light.

Published : March 29, 2021

By : The Washington Post · Tara Bahrampour, Jason Samenow