Will the recent snow and cold delay peak bloom?
Spring arrives on Thursday and thus the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The National Park Service recently released the forecast for peak blooms and expects the magic 70% mark to arrive April 8-12th. THIS is what the blossoms looked like Monday morning:
Monday Morning, Tidal Basin (Photo: John Gonzalez)
ABC7's John Gonzalez snapped the photo in-between his live reports on Good Morning Washington on Monday during the storm. Makes a strong statement, doesn't it?
The wild winter weather has many wondering if our recent cold temperatures and snow will push that peak date back, self included. The day before our 5-10" of snow, on March 16th, the NPS reported the Cherry Blossom status as "Green." This is the latest we've seen the green buds in ten years! We usually see green anytime from Mid February-Early March. So, we're a little late there. However, if you take a look back a decade to 2003 when the green emerged appropriately on St. Patrick's Day, the peak bloom ended up on April 2nd. So, it's still possible to stay on forecast pace. You can watch the progress on this live camera for yourself.
Last year the peak bloom was April 9th. And in 2012, we peaked much earlier on March 20th. For a list of bloom times dating back to 1992, click here.
NPS admits it's difficult to predict the peak with accuracy more than 10 days out, so stay tuned for changes. The blooms are most affected by extreme cold and extreme heat. Once they start opening, concerns lead to wind and rain that could knock the blooms down. If we take a look ahead as to what could impact the lovely cherries in the next few weeks in the forecast, we have a variety of ups and downs. The temperature forecast is below average again for next week with the potential for freezing conditions.
A few weather forecast models, including the GFS, are also hinting at the potential for more snow in the forecast for the middle of next week.
Only time will tell. My money is on a later bloom date.