Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom Watch: Tidal Basin Cherry Trees Reach Stage 5

The cherry trees have reached stage five. Next: peak bloom!

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The cherry trees at the Tidal Basin have reached puffy white, stage five of their blooming cycle, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Saturday.

“The blossoms are starting to show, now we're just waiting on them to open. This is stage 5 - puffy white. Next stop is peak bloom!” @NatinalMallNPS tweeted.

The blossoms reached stage four on March 12 and stage one on Feb. 23.

Puffy white is the last stage before the Yoshino Cherry trees reach peak bloom. Peak bloom is defined as when 70% of the blossoms on the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin have bloomed, according to the NPS.

For Khurum Nasim and his daughter, Ameerah, the festival is a yearly tradition.

"We live in... Loudoun County, so we just drove up here, walked around," Nasim said. "I usually do it every year and bring the girls.” 

For Alonna Whittle and Kaleb Roode, a couple visiting from Philadelphia, the start of the festival was the perfect out-of-state date night.

“We came here a little bit earlier today, but we decided to save the cherry blossoms for around sunset time just so we could see a different scenery," Whittle said. "They seem to be early blooming this year, so we are pretty excited to be here, seeing it this year."

The big question now is: will cold temperatures affect the blossoms before they hit their peak?

Storm Team4 Meteorologist Clay Anderson has the forecast.

The NPS said the critical temperature where frost burn can occur on the petals is 27 degrees. Storm Team4 Meteorologist Clay Anderson forecasts that the region will come close to that Saturday and Sunday night.

Nasim said it worries him a little, because it's "always nice to see it when it’s full bloom," and the cold could threaten that.

Others remain optimistic.

"I think they’ll keep blooming because the temperatures are going to rebound for the rest of the week, so it’s just going to become even more beautiful to see them," Whittle said.

Storm Team4 Meteorologist Amelia Draper predicted the cherry trees will reach peak bloom March 15-20.

NPS has predicted the blossoms' peak bloom as March 22-25.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place March 20- April 16 in D.C.

If you make the blossoms a part of your weekend plans, organizers recommend taking public transportation to get there. Metro is offering free parking on the weekends and $2 fares one-way through the entire festival.

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