The iconic cherry blossoms are still weeks from emerging from their buds.
With frigid temperatures and a winter storm coming in just a couple days, D.C. residents could be forgiven for thinking cherry blossom season is still a ways away. Don't judge a cherry tree by its bark, however, because underneath, there is a lot of germination going on. Pretty soon, the trees that have become as emblematic of Washington D.C. as the Washington Monument will erupt in a riot of pink and white blossoms.
James Perry with the National Park service offered his prediction for the peak season for cherry blossoms this year.
"Our estimate for peak bloom for the cherry blossoms this year is between March 26 and March 30," says Perry.
This marks a week difference from last year. Peak season is defined as when 70 percent of the Yoshino variety will be open.
"You see a variety of years, really depending on the local conditions — what kind of winter we've had, what kind of weather we've had," Perry says. "It historically averages out to the first week in April."
Of course, while the Yoshino trees make up about half of the cherry blossoms in the District, there are plenty of other varieties, including Kwanzan, Snow Goose, Sargent Cherry and Usuzumi Cherry. Each has its own individual bloom and peak periods.
Bloom season can last from as long as 14 days to just a few days, which officials hope will coincide with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled to begin March 20 and ends on April 14, with the parade on April 13. It usually draws more than 1 million visitors to the District every spring, so officials hope the blossoms stick around.
"It entirely depends on the climate conditions what the conditions are like when the blossoms come out," Perry says. "If we have heavy rains or strong winds, all the blossoms can be knocked off, so it all depends on conditions."
For the time being, all eyes are on the weather, and that is a big wild card for the rest of this week.