Cherry blossom peak bloom likely on late side of predictions


Buds but no cherry blossoms yet at the Tidal Basin on Sunday, March 31. (Denis Govoni)

The colder than average March and chilled start to April has slowed the emergence of Washington, D.C.’s famed cherry blossoms.  Peak bloom may not be achieved in the previously forecast April 3-7 window.  Our revised window for peak bloom is April 6-10.

Peduncle elongation phase Peduncle elongation phase

Typically, blossoms reach peak bloom 6-10 days after reaching their peduncle elongation phase.  This year, they reached the milestone this past Sunday, March 31.

Moving ahead, warm, sunny days and mild nights could speed up the bloom process, while cloudy days and cold nights could slow it down.

Although sunshine is forecast for the next few days, nights will be quite chilly, with temperatures dipping to near freezing – which will tend to slow the blossoms.  We may not have weather conducive for a bud burst until late this weekend and early next week – in the April 7-10 time frame.

Carol Johnson, a public affairs representative for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, is also anticipating a slight delay in the blossoms.

“The blossoms should come out on the late side [of the April 3-6 National Park Service forecast],” she said.

And, even then, she added, they may not be quite at peak.

As of today, Johnson said, there’s a bit of “puffy white” on some blossoms, which signals at least some flowers will be out in just 4-6 days.

“There are already some blossoms out at Haines Point,” Johnson said. “Now it’s up to the weather.”

 

Dennis Govoni

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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