2023 Peak Bloom
The NPS judged that the Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom on March 23, 2023. They're now done for the year..
The cherry blossoms are done for the year.
During the winter, it looked like we might be on track for a record-setting early bloom. January and February were mostly much warmer than normal. The indicator tree was blooming by late February, and the saucer magnolias came out early. But when all is said and done, the current record of March 15 (from 1990) still stands thanks to a March that cooled down.
The temperature tracks through the winter up until peak bloom looked like this:
The blossoms eventually came in a fairly slow opening, with many trees blooming ahead of others. The NPS called peak bloom on March 23, nailing their initial prediction posted on March 1 (they had predicted March 22-25).
And then, once the blossoms were out, relatively cool and calm weather kept them out for comfortably over a week after peak bloom until some wild rainy and windy weather had a significant impact.
And so that's a wrap for 2023. Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated and followed along. See you again in 2024!
Here are some photos from this year's bloom. You can find all of this year's updates here.
Submissions for reader photos are closed for this year. You can find this year's reader photos here.
Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Predictions for 2023
The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom on March 23. The information below refers to the predictions that were issued prior to that.
National Park Service
Current prediction: March 22 – 25
On March 14, the National Park Service posted an update without actually revising their prediction: “Easing towards warmer weather, the cherry blossoms will feel the effects. With many of the Yoshino trees beginning to reveal their petals, we're expecting peak bloom to arrive at the early side of our prediction (March 22-25) or a few days before.”
The National Park Service arborists announced their prediction on March 1. They predict that the blossoms will hit peak bloom sometime between March 22 and 25. They're pointing to cooler temperatures coming in March but also that the very warm start to the year has scrambled the regular development of the cherry buds, with them never actually reaching their winter dormancy.
Washington Post Capital Weather Gang
Current prediction: March 19 – 23
They published their initial prediction on February 28. They forecast the cherry blossoms to hit peak bloom sometime between March 25 and 29. They emphasize particularly the cooler temperatures expected in March to slow the process down significantly. But on March 7, with the buds reaching the Extension of Florets stage in near record time, they said that “it's becoming likely our initial peak bloom forecast of March 25 to 29 is too late, as predicted temperatures are no longer as cold as they once were. Once the buds reach Stage 4 – known as peduncle elongation – we'll revise our peak bloom forecast if needed.” On March 14, they revised their forecast by bringing it forward, conceding that the forecast models they initially relied on had temperatures that were too cool.
NBC Storm Team 4
Current prediction: March 15 – 20
This weather team from the local NBC station is the earliest among them, expecting peak bloom to hit sometime between March 15 and 20. That would make it an extraordinarily early bloom–the earliest on record is March 15 in 1990.