Cherry blossom season for Washington DC's famous cherry blossoms has come and gone for 2013. The famous cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin burst into flower in early- to mid-April in an annual tradition in Washington and one that marks the unofficial start of spring.
But it's a fleeting spectacle, with the entire bloom period lasting less than a fortnight--and the peak bloom lasting much less than that.
So timing is everything. And the dates of the bloom change from year to year. (For more on what "peak bloom" means and when it occurs, take a look at the Ins and Outs of Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom page.)
In 2012, the bloom came very early. In 2013, it was later than average due to unseasonably cold local weather during March and early April.
2013 Peak Bloom Forecasts
Actual Peak Bloom Date: April 9
Last Official National Park Service Prediction: April 6-8
The first official NPS forecast, issued on March 4, was that the peak bloom day should fall between March 26 and March 30. But colder than usual temperatures set in and stuck with us through most of the rest of March and into early April, slowing things down. On March 18, they revised their official forecast for the peak bloom day this year to fall within the range of April 3-6, which would have put it squarely around the average of April 3.[foot]The National Park Service uses the date April 4 as the overall average peak bloom date. You can read why I use April 3 on my Ins and Outs of Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom page.[/foot] On March 25, after recent snow and wintry weather in the DC area, they reaffirmed their April 3-6 forecast. On April 2, after the Capital Weather Gang pushed back their own prediction, the NPS reaffirmed their April 3-6 range. On April 4, pointing to cooler daytime and night-time temperatures, the NPS revised its forecast to April 6-8. They're always careful to point out that they don't truly have confidence in their prediction until about ten days out because there are so many weather variables that can come into play.
Last Washington Post Capital Weather Gang Prediction: April 6-10
On March 15, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang made their own prediction that peak bloom would come between April 3 and 7, or around April 5.[foot]Originally, I wrote this just as April 5, but "April 3-7 (centered on April 5)" is the way they put it. .[/foot] Their prediction was based on a forecast of colder than usual temperatures through the last couple of weeks of March. On April 2, they revised their estimate for the peak bloom window to April 6-10.
Are DC's Cherry Blossoms Blooming Yet?
The famous Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are done for the year. The National Park Service determined that peak bloom was reached on April 9. There are other varieties of cherry trees and fruit trees in bloom in the vicinity now. See below for details and photos.
Cherry Blossom Watch 2013 Updates
You can see the progress of the trees going back here.
Want to Help Support DC's Cherry Trees?
If you'd like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.
The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the history National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.