Cherry Blossom Timelapse by David Coleman, Cherry Blossom Watch
Current Stage: Peak Bloom
The time has finally come! On Friday, the cherry blossom trees on the National Mall entered peak bloom.
Predicted to occur between March 21 and 24, the blossoms opened up a day earlier than the revised prediction from the National Park Service.
The original forecast predicted peak bloom near March 27-30, but NPS explained in a tweet that temperatures over the last week had been warmer than expected and they expected the trend to continue.
NPS defines peak bloom as the day when 70% of Yoshino cherry blossoms are open. In the past, out-of-the-ordinary weather conditions have shifted peak bloom to as early as March 15, in 1990, and to as late as April 18, in 1958.
Yoshino cherry trees generally bloom for several days, with cool weather potentially extending the length of the blooming period. Temperatures dropping this weekend might help the blossoms stick around a bit longer.
NPS reminded the public in a tweet that despite the excitement around peak bloom, CDC guidelines must be followed when visiting the National Mall to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
WMATA said that Metro should be used for essential travel only, and that visiting the cherry blossoms does not constitute essential travel.
Yoshino cherry trees generally bloom for several days, with cool weather potentially extending the length of the blooming period.
Peak Bloom Projection
The peak bloom projection for the cherry blossoms on the National Mall was moved up to March 21-24.
The original forecast predicted peak bloom near March 27-30, but NPS explained in a tweet that temperatures over the last week had been warmer than expected and they expected this trend to continue.
“In the weeks since we made that initial announcement, we’ve had several days 10 degrees or higher than temperatures forecast. We’re looking at a continued warming trend for the next couple of weeks and that’s causing us to reassess and re-project,” said NPS Chief of Communications Mike Litterst.
NPS horticulturists monitored the buds’ development.
BloomCam: Watch the Cherry Blossoms From the Comfort of Your Home
Can’t make it to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms this year? Don’t worry, because they are being brought to you.
A 24/7 live look of the cherry blossoms is available for your viewing pleasure thanks to a partnership between the Trust for the National Mall, the National Park Service and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The live camera feed changes views about every five minutes, providing you with a detailed look at the blossoming trees.
Peak bloom began, so you are able to get a live look at the beautiful puffy pink and white petals practically bursting through your computer screen.
How to Avoid the Crowds
One major part of D.C.'s cherry blossom season are the overwhelming crowds of tourists and locals alike who flock to the National Mall to snap pictures of the blooms. An estimated 1.5 million people visit D.C. every year for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
As concerns over the coronavirus mount, many people may make more of an effort to avoid crowds during peak bloom. Luckily, with cherry trees all over the District, it's possible to enjoy the blooms while practicing safe social distancing.
Here's a map of all the cherry trees in D.C. that aren't in major hotspots like the Tidal Basin and along the National Mall. For some, enjoying the blossoms can be as simple as walking a few blocks from your front door.
All the Neighborhood Cherry Trees in the District
Cherry trees on non-federal land in D.C., color-coded by type of tree and sized according to the tree's diameter. Click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of the map to search for your address.
Source: D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) Street Spatial Database (SSD)
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington
Here are some other places you can go:
Spots to View Cherry Blossoms When You’re Trying to Avoid the Crowds
Types of Cherry Trees
As the map above shows, D.C. is home to more than just the Yoshino cherry trees, for which it's famous. While Yoshino cherry trees make up the vast majority of trees around the Tidal Basin, there are at least six different types of cherry trees throughout city.
Cherry Tree Varieties, by Bloom
Source: Getty Images, Flicker
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington
Do you consider yourself to be a cherry blossom aficionado? Here's a quiz to test your knowledge on the iconic trees that draw visitors from all over the world to the District for their beauty.