Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 1, 2019

It's a very pretty morning down at the Tidal Basin. Cool and breezy, but sparklingly clear. And the cherry blossoms are looking magnificent.

It’s a very pretty morning down at the Tidal Basin. Cool and breezy, but sparklingly clear. And the cherry blossoms are looking magnificent.

The showers yesterday and the wind overnight haven’t made any real dent on the flowers. While you can find a smattering of petals that have been blown off onto the ground, it’s only a minuscule amount compared to the whole and has had no effect whatsoever on how beautiful the spectacle is. You can’t tell from looking at the trees even close up that any petals are missing.

It was quite busy for sunrise, but not long after that the crowds thinned out as people headed off to work.

More details and photos from this morning below.

How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning

Cool, breezy, and clear. Quite busy for sunrise, but the crowds quickly thinned out as people headed off to work/school. Here are some photos to give you a sense of how it’s looking today.

Quite a few people out for sunrise. This was the stretch down by the southern end of the FDR Memorial, directly across from the Jefferson Memorial.

Weekend of April 6-7

Obviously, not everyone can go during the work week, so I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the weekend of April 6-7.

The odds are good that there will still be plenty of flowers out and they’ll be looking lovely. But it’s never a sure thing because so much of it depends on the weather. So far, the forecast is looking quite good.

In ideal conditions (cool, calm, dry), they can last more than a week–perhaps even two. But as they move past full bloom the flowers also become more fragile, which makes them more vulnerable to rain, wind, and storms, and it’s not unheard of for them to be mostly gone in 4-6 days after the peak bloom day.

I know that this isn’t as firm an answer as you’d like, but here’s a quick example to explain the hedging. These photos were taken at 5 days after peak bloom. The first two were in 2018:

+5 days in 2018.

+5 days in 2018.

These second two were taken 5 days after the peak bloom in 2014:

+5 days in 2014.

+5 days in 2014.

For more detailed examples, I’ve put together this photo timeline from past years showing the types of things you can expect in the days before and after peak bloom.

So there’s a good chance they’ll still be looking lovely the weekend of April 6-7, but as you can see from these photos, it’s impossible to give a firm prediction, and it’s worth going into it at least knowing of the risk that unhelpful weather can potentially have an impact.

Visiting This Weekend?

I’ve put together some information on the monuments and memorials you’ll come across as you wander around the Tidal Basin.

Here’s some information on getting to and from the cherry blossoms, and here’s some information specifically on parking options.

I’ve also put together some suggestions of you’re visiting with young kids.

Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

One extra consideration for April 7 is that the Cherry Blossom 10-miler is being run that morning. You can still get to the Tidal Basin, but it makes the logistics of getting to and from more complicated because of the road closures that come with it.

You can find more information here.

Early Bloomer

These are of one of the other trees that also reliably blooms a little ahead of the other, although not as early as the indicator tree. I’ll aim to track this tree regularly as we move through the bloom. These are the same branch, with the newest at top.

It’s past its prime now, and some of the petals came off in yesterday’s showers and breeze.

March 30, 2019.

March 29, 2019.

March 28, 2019.

March 27, 2019.

March 25, 2019.

March 23, 2019.

March 19, 2019.

March 17, 2019.

Logistics

The Tidal Basin’s parking lot by the paddle boats is now closed for the Cherry Blossom Festival Welcome Area. It will be closed through April 18.

Ohio Drive has been switched to the special one-way traffic pattern. You can still get to Ohio Drive, but you’ll have to go around the other side of the Tidal Basin, past the paddle boats, and enter by the Jefferson Memorial. According to one of the signs, the traffic pattern is due to stay in place until April 14. That seems a bit excessive, so it’s possible it might revert back to normal before then.

If you’re coming in from the Arlington side of the Potomac, be aware Memorial Bridge is undergoing major structural repairs. It is still open, but there are temporary traffic lanes that can impact traffic flow and where you can turn once you get off the bridge. So using one of the other bridges might be a better bet.

For Photographers

No Drone Zone. If you’re planning to use a drone . . . don’t. The Tidal Basin, and the whole downtown DC area, is strictly a no-drone zone. Here’s a more detailed explanation.

View Comments

  • Thanks for all the posts. This website was invaluable to helping me plan for our trip. My wife, mother-in-law and I were able to go on Monday and it was wonderful.

    It's interesting comparing my shots to yours. Completely different. Great shots, I'm a bit jealous I didn't see similar angles to you in some of them.

  • My family and I have been planning on coming out from Denver, CO this coming Friday April 5th in the hope that we will still get to see the blooms the next day. However, we're a little concerned about the weather forecast for Friday - pretty much rain all day. I know it's tough to say, but is that likely to wipe them out? Thanks.

    • Rain certainly isn't helpful, but how much trouble it causes depends on how heavy the rain is and how strong the winds are that follow it. So it's just impossible to say this far out. The NPS has just said that the weather forecast suggests that you can expect to see blossoms for the next 7 to 10 days.

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