National Park Service to announce peak bloom date for cherry blossoms

By Paulina Firozi

- Washington Post
The National Park Service will give Washington area residents fed up with the cold and the snow and the wintry mix a glimpse of spring Tuesday, when it announces the peak bloom time for Washington’s famed cherry blossom trees.
 
The organization will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. at the Newseum to let blossom lovers know when the pink and white petals will be at their peak. But possibly even more important, the announcement might just bring a little hope that the seemingly endless winter will come to an end.
 
So Instagram users beware. Your feeds filled with dreary streets and snow-covered driveways will soon be replaced with photos of the blossoms at sunrise.
 
Soon the belt of cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin will wave their delicate petals at the millions of visitors who flock to Washington to soak in the city at its finest.
 
This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 20 through April 12. Seven singing acts have been chosen to perform at the parade that headlines the three-week celebration on its second-to-last day.
 
The festival marks the anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the District. Though some of the trees have been removed and others added over time, the resiliency of the original 1912 trees is celebrated each year.
 
The celebration has expanded over the years, from just three days in 1934 to 24 days now.
 
Over the years, many first ladies have participated in the event, starting with Helen Taft, who planted the first of the trees more than 100 years ago, to Michelle Obama who served as the honorary chair for the centennial in 2012.
 
The average peak bloom date, according to the National Park Service, is April 4. Officials determine peak by the time of year when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees’ blossoms have opened. Last year’s peak bloom fell on April 10.
 
With the coldest February since 1979 already in the books and a potentially colder-than-usual March to look forward to, the springtime tradition is certain to be welcomed by area residents.
 
Several hours after the region learns when the blossoms will peak, another wintry mix is expected to move into the region Tuesday evening, according to the Capital Weather Gang. And late Wednesday could bring some accumulating snow.