It's the most depressing view the Cherry Blossom Cam could possibly show: an expanse of bare, dark trees above a landscape of snow. The look is completed by an oppressively gray, cloudy sky.
This is not the view most people want to see two days before the start of spring.
Nonetheless, there are subtle developments on the blossom front. A few rogue trees have already bloomed, like one on Q Street NW near Logan Circle, pictured above. (It's between 14th and 15th streets, if you're desperate to find it for yourself.)
And despite this seemingly endless winter, the Yoshino cherry trees along the tidal basin entered their first stage of bud development over the weekend, the green bud stage.
However, you'll get to enjoy the view even sooner, since the peak bloom date is actually defined as the date that 70 percent of the trees are open along the Tidal Bason. We're sure you'll enjoy them even when that percentage is just 50, or 40, or 25.... Hey, it's been a long winter. We'll take what we can get.
Florets will become visible about 16 to 21 days before peak boom, and the obviously best-named phase, Puffy White, usually falls four to six days in advance. See descriptions and photos of the blossoms' phases on the NPS website here.
And although you might want to bring a jacket, the National Cherry Blossom Festival itself kicks off Thursday, running through April 13.
Some festival highlights:
- Pink Tie Party, a fundraising gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center -- Wednesday, March 20 ($200/person)
- Exhibitions of Japanese art, and Japanese cultural programs at the Freer/Sackler Galleries -- Wednesday, March 20-Sunday, April 13 (free admission)
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony at the Warner Theatre -- Saturday, March 22 (free, but advance tickets required)
- Blossom Kite Festival on the grounds of the Washington Monument -- Saturday, March 29 (free)
- Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival -- Saturday, April 5
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival -- Saturday, April 12
Find more events here.