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.
Around the Tidal Basin this morning, the buds are clearly making progress. And, as usual, the so-called indicator tree is marching ahead of the others. It’s typically a week to 10 days ahead.
Stay tuned for the National Park Service’s peak bloom prediction to be announced at a press conference later this morning. I’ll post an update when they announce it, and you can of course always find the latest predictions on the peak bloom page.
The Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang prediction is March 23-27.
Peak Bloom Forecasts
The National Park Service will be announcing their peak bloom forecast later this morning.
The Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang posted their own peak bloom prediction a few days ago. They’re predicting that peak bloom will come “during the window between March 23 and 27 this year, centered on the 25th.”
As always, you can check in with the peak bloom page to get the latest forecasts.
Temperatures So Far
February closed out 6.3 degrees above average. That’s what has helped the cherry blossoms, along with the area’s other flowers, get a jump start on spring.
Here’s how we’ve been tracking for the winter compared with the previous few years.
|December||January||February||March||Peak Bloom Date|
ˤ = partial month, in progress
* = up until peak bloom
Photos from This Morning
Here are some photos taken around the Tidal Basin this morning.
The so-called indicator tree is one that is consistently about a week to 10 days ahead of the others. I have more information in it, including on how to find it, here.
This time last year it was already blooming. Here’s how it was looking this morning.
If you’re coming from out of town, I’ve put together some suggestions on where to stay.
March for Our Lives Rally
The March for Our Lives rally on gun control is scheduled for March 24, 2018. That coincides with the first week of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The rally’s organizers are planning for up to 500,000 people to attend. While DC handles big events in its stride, that’s likely to create a lot of competition for hotel rooms that weekend. So if you’re planning to come into town then, it’s probably best to book sooner rather than later.
B&H Photo has some really good deals at the moment on everything from cameras and lenses to tripods and lighting. These are running through March 3 to coincide with the WPPI conference.
Cherry Blossom Photo Tours
Walking photo tours can be a great way to learn some new photography skills with the help of experts. And photo tours for the cherry blossoms can take advantage of expert local knowledge to know where to be when to get the best light and vantage points.
If you’re looking to do a photo tour while you’re visiting, there are a few options. The best place to start is with Washington Photo Safari, but there are also some other options, which you can find on the DC photo tours page.
Most of these tours are limited to small groups, so it’s a good idea to book well in advance if you can. Of course, that also means rolling the dice in terms of when the cherry blossoms will be in bloom.
Renting Photo Gear
If you’re looking to rent some gear, whether something specialized or just to try out something different, I can recommend both BorrowLenses and Lens Pro to Go. They’re the ones I typically use when I need something specific for a client shoot or am just curious about trying something out. Lens Pro to Go currently has 15% to 25% off through March.
For local options, Ace Photo, District Camera, and f8 Rentals also offer rental gear, although their selections are often not as extensive as the big online places. And if you’re shooting video, DC Camera’s offerings are worth a look.
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.