WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — It’s only February, but some buds of pink are appearing across the District. Peak bloom for Washington’s Cherry Blossom trees could come early this year.
“Given the fact that it has been an extraordinarily mild winter, temperatures have been well above average and we’ve had no precipitation or frozen precipitation to speak of, I don’t think it’s really letting the cat out of the bag that we’re expecting an earlier peak bloom than the average historic peak bloom date of April 4th,” said Mike Litterst, Chief of Communications for the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.
According to Litterst, NPS monitors several things in order to predict peak bloom.
Those include the forecast—both near and far term—historic record, what happened in previous years during similar circumstances and the trees themselves.
“And in the case of one particular tree, it’s called the indicator tree, every year irregardless it comes out about a week to 10 days earlier than the rest of the general population,” said Litterst. “So we look at it, it helps indicate where we might be for peak bloom for the rest of the trees.”
Litterst said as of Monday, the indicator tree is beginning to bud.
“It has started the bloom process already,” he explained. “And it’s a couple weeks ahead of where it was last year.”
Still, he warned it’s too early to make a prediction on the exact timeline of the blooms.
“There’s still a month or so left to go,” he said. “So there’s plenty of time for old man winter to put a spell on and slow this whole thing down.”
NPS will make its peak bloom prediction for Cherry Blossom trees at the Tidal Basin, Potomac Park and Washington Monument on March 1.
Meanwhile, some Cherry Blossoms are blooming in other parts of the city, including at LeDroit Park.
That’s where Varsha Suresh, who is visiting from New York City, was taking pictures Friday.
“It’s beautiful. I think it’s one of those key things in D.C. that brings all of the city together,” said Suresh. “Whether you’re new or been here all your life it’s one of those things that grounds you. It’s really beautiful.”