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Some Cherry Trees Are Blooming at the Tidal Basin – But it's Not What You Think

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Unseasonably warm temperatures in the 70s over the weekend and a warmer than usual December caused some of the cherry trees to flower around the Tidal Basin and the Washington Monument.

But the trees, called Higan cherry, aren't the Yoshino cherry trees that bring hundreds of thousands of people to D.C. each spring to admire their spectacular display of pink blooms.

Higan cherry trees produce pink buds and white flowers on and off during a warm autumn season and then fully flower in the spring. 

It's not unusual for Higan trees to bloom in the colder months, but the National Park Service says the ones in D.C. typically bloom earlier in the winter.

Storm Team4's Amelia Draper says temperatures were 2.5 degrees above normal in December and January has been 10 degrees above normal so far. That combined with the warm air this weekend caused the trees to push out flowers, Draper said.

The National Park Service says the Yoshino trees show no sign of budding and haven't reached dormancy yet.

NPS monitors dormancy when predicting peak bloom, Draper said.

Climate change has played a role in peak bloom and according to Climate Central, peak bloom has moved up five days from April 6 to April 1 over the decades.

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