It’s a gorgeous day. There’s barely a cloud in the sky, only a light breeze, and it’s warming up to spring-like temperatures. The birds are out in force around the Tidal Basin, singing away. Overall, it’s a very pleasant place to be this morning.
Over the past week we’ve had the usual February mixed bag of weather. It’s seemed even colder than the thermometer has shown thanks to a rather unpleasant cold wind, but overall it’s not unusual weather for this time of year. And that’s reflected in the average temperatures. With only a day left for the month, we’re right around the average temperatures for the month.
It’s very different to last year. In 2015 we had a very cold February, and the Tidal Basin remained frozen well into March. That long, cold winter pushed the peak bloom very late. But despite the odd, relatively brief arctic blast, this year hasn’t been anywhere near as cold as last year. And that’s coming off the back of a December that was much warmer than normal.
The forecasts I’ve seen for March so far don’t seem to suggest that it’s going to be abnormally cold. It all combines to suggest that it’s shaping up that we probably won’t have a very late peak bloom as we’ve had in the past few years.
But the forecast for March could change–the weather has a way of surprising us–so if we end up with a much colder-than-usual March it might slow the development of the buds down.
Here’s how we’re tracking so far for monthly average temperatures. We had a warm start to February, but now that we’re nearly done with the month, we’re ending up right around the average.
|December||January||February||March||Peak Bloom Date|
ˤ = partial month, in progress
* = up until peak bloom
Peak Bloom Forecasts
We should get the first major peak bloom forecast from the experts at the National Park Service in a week or so. They’ll be taking a look at how the trees are looking (especially the indicator tree), how the winter has shaped up thus far, and, crucially, the long-range weather forecasts for March.
Sometimes those first peak bloom forecasts stick–as they did last year–and sometimes they get revised as we get closer to the date. As always, you can find the latest information on the 2016 peak bloom forecasts page.
Photos from This Morning
Here are some photos taken this morning. To see how they compare with this time last year, here are the shots from February 27, 2015.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
As usual since the upgrades a few years ago, the Reflecting Pool is drained for the winter. So if you’re looking to take some nice reflection photos with the Lincoln Memorial or Washington Monument, you’re unfortunately out of luck.
So far as I know there’s no fixed–or at least publicly broadcast–date when it will be refilled. I’ll check on it from time to time and include any changes in future updates as necessary.
Cherry Blossom Visitor Guides
Planning on visiting DC to see the cherry blossoms? The uncertainty with predicting when the bloom will take place certainly makes things hard, but I've put together some information to help you make an educated guess to maximize your chances.
And if you're coming into town for the events of the cherry blossom festival or just for the flowers, I've also put together some ideas on where to stay and how to get to the cherry blossoms once you're here.
Washington DC Visitor Guides
If you're coming in from out of town, here are some useful travel guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit. Because as stunning as the cherry blossoms are, there's an awful lot more to do and see in DC.
These are some of the most popular ones. Many of these are available as both traditional books and e-books that you can read on your phone or tablet.
- DK Travel
- Publisher: DK Eyewitness Travel
- Fodor s Washington D C with Mount Vernon Alexandria Annapolis Full color Travel Guide
- Fodor's Travel Guides
- Lonely Planet Washington DC
- Lonely Planet, Karla Zimmerman, Regis St Louis
- Elise Hartman Ford
- Publisher: FrommerMedia
- DK Travel
- Publisher: DK Eyewitness Travel
And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's very rich history.
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
- Barbara Noe Kennedy
- A History Lover s Guide to Washington D C Designed for Democracy
- Alison Fortier
Books on DC's Cherry Blossoms
If you're looking for books specifically on DC's cherry blossoms for yourself or as a gift, these two are my favorites.
- Ann McClellan
- Publisher: National Geographic