Welcome to the 2020 DC Cherry Blossom Watch! It's a cold and crisp morning, a sharp break from the warm and rainy weather we've had lately.
It seems increasingly likely that DC will still be under COVID-19 restrictions in spring 2021 while the cherry blossoms are blooming. So it's shaping up to be a good year to follow along from afar from the safety and comfort of your home.
Welcome to the 2020 DC Cherry Blossom Watch!
We’re a couple of weeks away from when we can expect the first peak bloom forecasts to be issued. For now, the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin are still wrapped tightly with their winter buds. But pretty soon, we’ll be able to see more visual progress as they continue waking from their winter dormancy and progressing through to cherry blossoms.
It’s cold and crisp this morning, but that has definitely been the exception so far this winter. It has been consistently warmer than average. You can see the pattern from this graph, which shows the daily averages this winter (in blue) compared with the historical daily averages (in red).
Another way to look at it is with the monthly averages. This is how we’re tracking compared with previous years.
|December||January||February||March||Peak Bloom Date|
Around town, some of the very earliest spring flowers are starting to pop, and the daffodils aren’t far away. The saucer magnolias aren’t flowering yet, but the buds are well on their way (you can see some photos of them below).
If I had to make a guess right now, I’d have to say it’s shaping up for an early bloom. That said, I’ve also seen how warm winters can be followed by very cold springs that slow things down dramatically—we’ve had some good examples of that in recent years. So without the benefit of reliable long-range weather forecasts looking ahead deep into March, I wouldn’t put much stock in my guesses just yet. But another hint that we’re in for an early one is that spring has come weeks early in the South.
Here are some shots taken at the Tidal Basin this morning. It’s cold and icy (from the leftover puddles from all the rain we’ve had lately), and not feeling very springlike. But it is possible, if you really go looking, to find some early green buds just barely starting to poke through.
The saucer magnolias, or tulip magnolias, are also quite the spectacle and come out a bit earlier than the cherry blossoms. This is how the ones at the George Mason Memorial were looking this morning.
If you were hoping to get some sunrise photos of the Jefferson Memorial this spring, you might end up a bit disappointed. The memorial’s exterior is covered in scaffolding as part of a major restoration of the domed roof.
Inside, the main chamber is free of scaffolding and open as normal, although there’s scaffolding in the interior portico area at the top of the steps.
Completion was scheduled for May 2020, although I’m not sure whether work is still on track to meet that.
Here’s how it’s looking this morning.
Last updated February 15, 2020