Given the warm December and January we had, there was some fear that the cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin would peak early and be gone before the annual festival that starts at the end of March. Thanks to a very cold February, though, it looks like they’ll be right on schedule
WASHINGTON (AP) — After an unusually warm December rattled the nerves of anyone eagerly anticipating Washington’s grand rite of spring, the National Park Service predicted the cherry blossoms will bloom in time for the two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival.
A majority of the 3,700 trees lining the Tidal Basin will be in bloom from April 1-7 “barring the advent of an ice age or rapid acceleration of global warming,” Robert DeFeo, the park service’s chief horticulturist, said Thursday.
Winter temperatures that climbed into the 70s sparked concern the trees would bloom prematurely, with none of the pink and white blossoms left for the annual festival that brings 1 million visitors and $150 million in tourism money to the city.
“I was a little nervous too, but fortunately for all of us, the cherry trees, I’d say, are the most reliable living species in our nation’s capital,” DeFeo said.
Some cherry trees did bloom in December, but they weren’t the Yoshino variety that were presented to the United States by Japan in 1912.
DeFeo said his predictions, which have been fairly accurate in past years, come from a combination of weather forecasts and close observation of the trees and their buds.
Thursday’s announcement was part of an event previewing the festival, which will run from March 31 to April 15.
When they are in bloom, the cherry blossoms are truly one of the best sights to see in the D.C. area.