Gusty, damaging winds will end cherry blossoms’ peak bloom

The Tidal Basin has been flourishing with spring color since peak bloom one week ago, but Mother Nature promises to bring an abrupt end to that by Sunday.

Thursday will be perfect to see the best color going forward with bright blue skies and light wind. Friday will start a changeable weather pattern with an increasing southwest wind that will knock off a handful of blooms.

The wind will develop ahead of a major weather system likely to trigger destructive storms in the Mississippi Valley and Midwest. Not to be outdone, showers Friday evening will bring down even more blooms.

The local weather service’s wind risk assessment for Saturday showing an elevated risk for gusty winds in the D.C. region to a significant risk for damaging winds west of Interstate 81. (Courtesy NWS in Baltimore/Washington)

The changeable weather day will be on Saturday.

Morning showers will give way to full sunshine and breezy wind. Peak gusts during most of the afternoon will reach 35 to 45 mph. However, a strong front will push across the District between 6 p.m.-10 p.m. with a line of gusty showers reaching 45 to 55 mph. These winds will slowly diminish to 30 to 40 mph Saturday night.

While high wind watches have been posted west of Interstate 81 so far, wind alerts will likely be issued east of the mountains into the DMV later today or Friday.

Gusts this high are likely to not only knock off at least 50% of the blooms, but down small limbs and initiate scattered power outages across the entire D.C. area and suburbs. Not to be outdone, Sunday will be breezy and a bit cooler, so a few more blooms will come down.

Stay with WTOP for the latest on the forecast and weather service wind alerts that will likely be issued ahead of Saturday’s wind event with traffic and weather 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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