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New Peak Bloom Date Predicted For 2019 DC Cherry Blossoms

Patch logo Patch 3/26/2019 Dan Taylor
a vase of flowers on a tree © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

WASHINGTON, DC -- It's time to adjust your calendars if you were planning on welcoming peak bloom of the D.C. Yoshino cherry blossom trees sometime in the middle to late part of next week. Local forecasters have moved their prediction up to April 1, and that's no April Fool's Day joke.

The National Park Service had originally predicted that we'd see peak bloom sometime around April 3-6, or between Wednesday and Saturday next week. Now, they're saying it looks like it'll happen Monday, April 1 thanks to the recent warm temperatures and accelerating blooming evident in the trees.

"Determining the peak bloom date requires checking both the forecast and where the trees are in the blooming process," NPS tweeted. "The indicator tree is in full bloom & with temps forecast for the upper 70s this weekend, we now predict peak bloom will occur April 1!"

The cherry blossom trees took a big step toward 2019 peak bloom over the past weekend, reaching the third stage on Saturday and the ever-critical "peduncle elongation" phase on Monday, which probably prompted the new prediction.

That means the second-to-last phase, the "puffy white" phase, should be imminent, followed by peak bloom on Monday.

If the cherry blossoms do peak on April 1, that will be almost exactly on target for the 30-year average of March 31, and a little bit earlier than the 1921-2018 average of April 3, says the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.

Last year, peak bloom happened April 5 after a cold and snowy March.

"The most likely time to reach peak bloom is between the last week of March and the first week of April," reads the NPS website. "Extraordinary warm or cool temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958)."

The NPS notes that predicting peak bloom is "almost impossible" more than 10 days in advance because weather conditions can have a big effect on the timing.

The Yoshino cherry blossom trees that line the Tidal Basin were a gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of D.C. back on March 27, 1912. Ever since then, the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms has served as the unofficial start to spring for the D.C. area.

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