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.
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
If you’d like to volunteer to help with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, you can find more information and the registration form on their website.
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.
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.