An extended winter has become the culprit for the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC. A rather cold March has been one of the biggest factors delaying this peak bloom, and the snow earlier this week made the situation even worse. Over three inches of snow fell in the city on March 21st, forcing the buds to remain closed.
On Friday, March 23, the National Park Service released their updated peak bloom date. They are now expecting the peak bloom to occur between April 8 and 12. They say that “with continued colder than average temps (Feb was warmer than March has been this year), the blossoms lack the heating degrees needed to keep the
#BloomWatch on track. And with no warmup on the horizon, peak bloom is now forecast for April 8-12.” The picture below captures the snow-covered trees and ground along the Tidal Basin in the city.
All of the snow has melted now, but the forecast remains chilly. We are not expecting additional snowfall, however, for Washington, DC, due to climatology and the long-range outlook, but we are expecting the cold to continue. The European model’s ensemble guidance below keeps temperatures below freezing at night through at least early-next week, then the spread of uncertainty grows from the end of March through early-April on whether there will still be nights below freezing. The ensemble mean at this time keeps temperatures in the mid to upper 30s for lows and highs in mid 50s, which is more conducive for the blooming of these pretty trees.