Cherry tree buds on the cusp of “puffy white” at the Tidal Basin Sunday (Barbara am Ende via Flickr)

The buds on Washington, D.C.’s famed cherry trees today reached their final stage before bursting and reaching peak bloom

The National Park Service declared the buds are “puffy white”, which on average signifies peak bloom is just 4-6 days away.  If this year is like most others, peak bloom will be achieved between April 11-13 or Friday to Sunday this week. (Our original peak bloom forecast for April 7 to 11, which was later revised to April 11-15)

Peak bloom is defined as “as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open” according to the National Park Service.

This week’s weather should not serve as an impediment to the bloom schedule.  Cool, cloudy days or cold nights can slow the blossoms down, but most days this week (after today) should have at least partial sunshine (with highs generally in the 60s) and overnight temperatures should stay above freezing.

Assuming the blossoms peak this weekend, the weather should make for good viewing conditions. The lone fly in the ointment is the passage of a front late Friday that could bring showers overnight into Saturday morning.  Temperatures should be mild with highs near or even above 70 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon.

How long will the blossoms last?

“The Blooming Period is defined as that period when 20 percent of the blossoms are open until the petals fall and leaves appear,” writes the National Park Service.  “The blooming period starts several days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as 14 days, however, frost or high temperatures combined with wind or rain can shorten this period.”

We’ll keep you updated on the status of the blossom bloom as the week progresses.

Related content:

DC blooms: Where to find cherry blossoms in your neighborhood.

2013 and 2014 cherry blossom coverage

Ten days of cherry blossoms (PHOTOS, 2012)
Cherry blossoms bursting out (PHOTOS, 2012)
Cherry blossoms with an overcast sky (PHOTOS, 2011)
Washington’s cherry blossoms in the snow (PHOTOS, 2011)
A cherry blossom bird’s-eye view (PHOTOS, 2010)
Cherry Blossoms Wind Down as D.C. Greens Up (PHOTOS, 2009)
Cherry Blossom Morning (PHOTOS 2009)
Washington D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Bloom Begins (PHOTOS, 2009)
Photography: Falling Blossoms & Spring Scenes, Kevin Ambrose (2008)
Photography: A Blooming Good Time (2008)
Photography: Glorious Cherry Blossom Sunrise (2008)
Photography: Cherry Blossoms by Night (2008)
Photography: Flying High as Spring Blossoms (2008)