Blizzards’ Parting Shot: Breaking Cherry Trees

Signs of spring could be delayed

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City streets. Montgomery County’s electrical grid. Our region’s collective psyche. Add one more item to the list of things in danger of buckling under the weight of the region’s record-breaking snowfall: our beloved cherry trees.

Many trees along the Tidal Basin are damaged.
"A number of branches have been split, and there have been a couple of trees that have had the canopies taken off," National Park Service spokesman Bill Line told WTOP. This is the worst damage he’s seen in his nine years with the Park Service, he added. However, in the long run, "The cherry trees are resilient, they'll come back."
But what about now? Forget about Punxsatawney Phil’s predictions, everyone here knows the true harbinger of spring is the eagerly awaited forecast for the annual blooming of the iconic trees along the Tidal Basin. Line told WTOP it’s possible the weather we get in the coming weeks could throw the blossoms off their average April 4 peak bloom date. 
"If we have for example, a slow melt and we have overnight temperatures below zero, that probably will slow down and probably will delay the blooming process," Line told WTOP.
Wait, what? April 4 -- that’s still six weeks away!
Alas, as we twist our ankles trying to scale filthy curbside snow mountains, a thought to keep in mind: Winter’s finish line is dimly visible in the distance. 
The National Cherry Blossom Festival will run from March 27 through April 4. NCBF 2010 gear is available NOW.   Volunteer opportunities also await those who survive this winter, like our cherry trees, scarred but still in the game.
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