With slush on the ground and temperatures well below freezing today, it’s only natural to speculate about spring. And judging by when the National Park Service expects the cherry blossoms to hit peak bloom this year, springs arrival is not so imminent.
James Perry, chief of resource management for the National Park Service, announced today at the Newseum that D.C.’s famed cherry blossoms will hit peak bloom between April 8 to 12. Peak bloom refers to when at least 70 percent of the flowers have bloomed.
Last year, peak bloom occurred on April 9, while in 2012 it took place on March 20. The average peak bloom date from 1992 through 2013 is March 31.
But don’t put these dates on your calender just yet. Perry warns that NPS “always reserves the right to revise” its forecast. Typically, the colder it is, the later the trees bloom. He assured everyone, though, that the trees are holding up just fine the harsh winter.
“Relax and let Mother Nature take her course,” Perry said.
The experts won’t know with certainty when the cherry blossoms will bloom until about 10 days before they do, when the first signs of green buds start appearing on the flowers. (Last year, the first green buds appeared on March 11.)
The festival celebrating the cherry blossoms—-a gift from Japan to Washington in 1912—-will run from March 20 through April 13. The festival’s flagship parade is scheduled for April 12. Perhaps most notably, the parade will feature a performance by Aaron Carter, the brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter.
The cherry blossoms are estimated to draw about 1.5 million visitors and residents.
“For the embassy, the cherry blossom is like Super Bowl or Christmas,” Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae said.
Photo by Matt Dunn