DC’s forecast suggests cherry blossom peak bloom is days away

Just as the first day of spring arrives Monday, Mother Nature will be on cue with peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry blossoms at the District’s Tidal Basin this week.

The ‘puffy white’ stage was reached on Saturday. This is the final step before peak bloom, the day in which 70% of the cherry blossoms are open.

On average, four days pass between the ‘puffy white’ stage and peak bloom, which implies Wednesday will be peak bloom this year. But the upcoming weather pattern favors the cherry blossoms blooming later in the week.

Last year provides a similar model in terms of the timing of the ‘puffy white’ stage being reached (it was March 19 in 2022, one day later than this year). Temperatures rebounded to the 60s and 70s with lows in the 40s and 50s after the ‘puffy white’ stage so that peak bloom occurred two days later on March 21.

A list of the dates between the cherry blossoms’ puffy white and peak bloom stages over the past 18 years and the average time lag between those final two stages. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Last year illustrated the role that weather plays in peak bloom. Mother Nature is setting the stage for the Tidal Basin to once again reap the benefits of this week’s weather.

However, the chilly early week temperatures will allow for more of a sputtering transition between the two stages.

Morning lows will steadily rebound from the 20s Monday to the 40s later in the week. Meanwhile, highs warm up from the 50s at the start of the week to the 70s by Thursday.

This will allow temperatures to warm 15 degrees above average later this week under generally mostly sunny skies — except for Wednesday into early Thursday as a warm front passes through the region.

D.C. is likely not going to see peak bloom on Wednesday, but it’s a sure bet to occur no later than early this weekend thanks to the warmth slated for Thursday. Then, temperatures will drop to several degrees late Friday into Saturday, but overnight lows will stay well-above freezing.

The cherry blossom trees near the Tidal Basin in D.C. on March 19, 2023, just before peak bloom. (WTOP/Jessica Kronzer)

Stay tuned to WTOP for the announcement on when peak bloom is reached! Stay with WTOP for the latest weather forecast on the 8’s!

Chad Merrill

Chad Merrill is a meteorologist and digital weather content producer for WTOP. Prior to joining WTOP, Chad was a meteorologist in the private industry and television. He loves to share his passion with listeners and readers and is eager to hear from anyone who has any weather questions!

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