Usually peak bloom occurs about three to five days after the puffy white stage is reached. When temperatures are warm, as they are now, it is usually closer to three days than five. Peak bloom is declared when 70 percent of the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin are in full bloom.
Saturday promises to offer the most enjoyable weather for taking in the blossoms. After morning lows in the mid-50s, temperatures will rise to 70 to 75 degrees during the afternoon. Mostly cloudy skies are expected, although intervals of sunshine are possible, especially into the afternoon. It will be breezy, with a wind from south around 15 mph, sometimes gusting to 20 to 30 mph. These breezes may blow some petals from some of the trees that have flowered early.
Rain showers are likely Sunday, starting predawn and ending between midmorning and midday. If you don’t mind getting a little wet and want to avoid crowds, Sunday morning might not be a bad time to visit. But if you’re seeking dry conditions, the afternoon looks good. Skies should pretty quickly clear. But grab a jacket, as temperatures hover in the 50s, with a gusty wind from the northwest (over 20 mph at times).
For peak bloom early next week, we expect dry but chilly conditions for Monday and at least the first half of Tuesday, with highs near 50. Late Tuesday into Wednesday, there is a chance of rain.
Once peak bloom is reached, flowers can remain on the trees for a week or so. But in some years, petals fall off sooner because of wind, rain or frost.
If the rain misses us late Tuesday into Wednesday, we may have an extended period of good viewing conditions through much of next week as temperatures trend milder.
Here are pictures of the cherry blossoms from the last couple of days.