local digest

Earlier cherry blossoms; boy dies on ATV; DUI arrests

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Earlier blossoms

The National Park Service on Monday moved up its prediction of the peak bloom period for Washington's famous cherry blossoms to April 1 to 4 from April 3 to 8 because of the weekend's warm, pleasant weather, spokesman Bill Line said.

The overall blooming period prediction was also changed and is now March 28 to April 9 instead of March 31 to April 11.

Line said the weekend's warm overnight temperatures also accelerated the blooming process. He said the new forecast was issued by the Park Service's blossom expert, horticulturalist Rob Defeo.

The peak bloom period is the time that about 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open. The average peak bloom date is April 4 but has been as early as March 15, in 1990, and as late as April 18, in 1958.

The blossoms are in the third of five stages before peak bloom, Line said, and will shortly enter stage four -- six to 10 days from peak bloom. The two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival begins Saturday with ceremonies at the National Building Museum. It runs through April 11.

-- Michael E. Ruane


Boy, 4, dies on ATV

Frederick County detectives continued to investigate the death Sunday of a 4-year-old boy who was pinned in creek water beneath an overturned ATV he had been riding on his family's property in the 6700 block of Burkittsville Road.

The preliminary investigation indicated that the child was riding alone on a Polaris 50cc ATV when the accident occurred about 7 p.m. Saturday, said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

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