It's still too early to guess with any confidence when DC's cherry blossoms will bloom in 2020, and no peak bloom forecasts have been issued yet. Stay tuned for the first peak bloom forecasts to be announced around the beginning of March.
The winter so far has been much warmer than normal. January and February have both tracked well above average. If that continues--and that's always a big "if"--it points to an earlier-than-average bloom, more late-March than early-April. But there's still plenty of time for cold weather to arrive and settle in, so it's still too early to predict with confidence.
There’s not much new to report on the trees, but we should start getting some of the initial peak bloom forecasts coming out around 3 weeks or so. As always, I’ll be updating the peak bloom page to keep it up to date.
We’ve seen some topsy-turvy temperatures lately, with a couple of extremely cold arctic blasts. While they were nothing like the brutal conditions further north, we still saw temperatures down around 10°F. But we’ve also seen some much-warmer-than-normal temperatures up into the 60s and 70s that have dragged the average up. So, despite those attention-grabbing cold spells, January still managed to average slightly above normal for the month. That’s coming after a December that was also warmer than normal.
Here are the monthly averages so far for the 2018-19 winter:
- February: +4.8 (as of 2/10)
- January: +1.2°
- December: +3.8°
And here’s how the daily average temperatures have been tracking (blue) compared with the historical average (red) so far since the beginning of December.
So far, then, temperatures have been warmer than normal. If that keeps up–and that’s always a big if because things can change quite dramatically–it would suggest an early bloom. But there’s still plenty of time for that to change, so I wouldn’t be putting much stock in it just yet.
Because there hasn’t been much new to report of late, the updates haven’t been very frequent. But as there comes more to see and report in coming weeks, I’ll increase the frequency of the updates. So stay tuned!
How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin
I’ve included some photos that I took yesterday. As you can see, the buds are about where you’d expect: fully wrapped up for the winter. So there’s not much visual evidence yet of what’s coming over the next 6 to 8 weeks.
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.