Due to sustained, unseasonably warm temperatures in early March, the National Park Service has revised the projected peak blooming period for cherry trees in the nation’s capital. Peak bloom is now expected March 18 to 23, 2016.
Peak bloom for the cherry blossoms was originally predicted to occur between March 31 and April 3. Those dates were announced by Gay Vietzke, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, during a live press conference March 2 at the Newseum that kicked off the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, marking the beginning of spring.
The festival will be held March 20 through April 17 and features family-friendly events at locations throughout the city. This year commemorates 104 years since the gift of the cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., as well as the centennial of the National Park Service.
Predictions are based on weather forecasts and historical data and vary from year to year. Peak bloom means that 70 percent of the blooms will be open. The cherry trees currently grow at three National Park Service locations: the Tidal Basin, Hains Point and on the Washington Monument grounds.
The National Park Service takes care of approximately 3,750 cherry trees, many dating back to 1912. The Park Service will be monitoring the weather and the trees as the peak bloom date nears, and updates will be posted to their website at www.nps.gov/cherry.
About 1.5 million people visit the festival each year.