The short version is that there’s still not much to report. The cherry trees are still in their winter mode and aren’t showing any visual signs of the buds developing yet. No peak bloom forecasts have been issued yet. Expect those to start coming in about 4 to 5 weeks.
After a very cold start to the year, temperatures have moderated, and we’re now back to tracking right around the average (0.2° below normal for the month, as of this morning). If temperatures continue to be around normal (and that’s always a very big “if”), then we’d expect the cherry blossoms to come out close to their historical average around the very end of March into the very beginning of April. If it’s significantly warmer than normal, it encourages an earlier bloom. If it’s colder, it pushes the bloom later. If you’re making travel plans and want more information on the historical averages to help you make a calculated guess, you can find some here.
Long-range weather forecasts this far out have to be taken with a giant grain of salt, but there’s some indication that February might be cooler than normal.
The very important caveat is that as we head further into the spring significant deviations from average temperatures can start having more effect. That is, warmer-than-normal temperatures in March matter more than warmer-than-normal temperatures now. So it’s still entirely possible for things to change.
How It Looks Today
These photos were taken this morning. As you can see, the Tidal Basin has thawed out since the last update.
Cherry Blossom Festival Call for Volunteers
New Hotels Close to the Cherry Blossoms
If you’re coming in from out of town, there are some new options this year for hotels within an easy walk of the Tidal Basin now that The Wharf (a.k.a. Southwest Waterfront) is open for business. There are three brand new hotels there, and they’re about half a mile from the Tidal Basin, give or take. I have more on them here.
Because there’s not much happening right now, there’s not much need for frequent updates. But as the trees start waking up in coming weeks and there’s more to report, I’ll also start posting more frequent updates.
How to Get Updates on the 2018 Cherry Blossoms
There are several ways to keep up to date with Cherry Blossom Watch updates.
CherryBlossomWatch.com This website is Cherry Blossom Watch HQ. New updates post here first. They're also more details and include more current photos than the other options. So be sure to bookmark and check back often. If you'd like to receive instant automatic notifications directly from the website when new updates are posted, take a look at the browser notification option below.
Instagram. Follow the dedicated Instagram feed at @cherryblossomwatch. The posts are usually shorter and less detailed, but they include freshly taken photos and post more quickly.
Facebook. Follow the Cherry Blossom Watch Facebook page. This is a good way to know when new updates are posted on the website, but because of the way Facebook's newsfeed algorithm works, there's no guarantee that every update will show up in your feed.
Email Newsletter. To the right of the page (or bottom, if you're using a mobile device) you can find a signup form for the 2018 cherry blossom watch email newsletter. This is sent out as a digest of the latest updates every week or so when new updates have been posted.
Browser Notifications. On desktop web browsers you can click on the red bell icon at the bottom right of the screen to sign up for push notifications. When new updates are posted you'll get a notification automatically right in your browser. Works in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox only, for now.
RSS. RSS feed
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