Perfect Timing For Peak Cherry Blossom Bloom

4:10 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Wednesday may bring a winter storm but Monday was DC's Ground Hog Day, the day the National Park Service issues the cherry blossom peak bloom forecast.

The forecast? The biggest burst of blooms will hit from March 23 to March 30, right in the middle of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

There's just a hint in the wind of the beauty to come but that burst of bloom, that first spectacular harbinger of spring is now just weeks away.  

Hard to believe spring is right around the corner. It's cold and blustery at the Tidal Basin now. Luckily, the buds are just at the stage called "extension of florets." If they had made it to "peduncle elongation," the predicted Wednesday snowstorm might cause trouble, because that's when the developing blossoms become sensitive to frost.

"At this point, we don't feel there will be any impact other than getting the very tail end of winter weather to deal with," says James Perry, the new Park Service blossom prognosticator.

The buds ignore government crises too.The Park Service expects no impact, at least on the Cherry Blossom Festival, from sequester budget cuts. "It's very early in the sequester process, and we believe we will be able to run this as we always have," says Deputy Superintendent Stephen Lorezetti. "Events after Cherry Blossom will change undoubtedly. We don't know exactly what it will be." The Park Service is subject to the same budget cuts as most other federal agencies. 

Also unknown? How long the blossoms will grace the Tidal Basin.
Wind or a rainstorm can steal them early. Perfect weather, and they'll tint Washington pink for weeks.

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