DC cherry blossom season could be spoiled by wind, freezing temps

D.C.’s National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off on Saturday and while the trees are expected to bloom early this year, cold temperatures over the weekend could spoil the fun.

“The critical temperature we’re looking at is about 27 [degrees] for the cherry blossoms and there could be some damage below that,” said Storm Team4 Meteorologist Mike Stinneford.

Frigid temperatures are expected to sweep across the D.C. region on Saturday and Sunday night.

“A couple of things are going to happen Sunday night that I’m worried about one thing it’s going to be very windy and the air is going to be very dry,” Stinneford told WTOP. “That wind along with a very dry air, some dew points will be below zero, we could actually see the cherry blossoms get dried out and actually freeze dry.”

The blossoms are currently in their peduncle elongation stage which is just before the beautiful puffy white blossoms appear — “and that puffy white is the one that we’re really concerned about because that’s when you can get damaged from frost and freezing temperatures,” Stinneford said.

The District’s cherry blossoms saw similar weather patterns around peak bloom in 2017 where over 50% of the blossoms were damaged.

The National Park Service estimated peak bloom will be reached sometime between Mar. 22-25.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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