We’ve had record-setting warm temperatures for the past few days–with maximums about 20 to 30 degrees above normal–and we’re expected to have temperatures at least 10 to 15 degrees above normal at least through the next week to ten days.
That’s having an effect on the local flowers. Daffodils and tulip magnolias are popping out all over the place along with some of the other early fruit trees.
And there’s clearly been some development in the cherry blossom buds even just in the past two days. The NPS determined that 70 percent of the trees reached the “green bud” phase on March 8. In a normal year, that can be around three weeks or more to peak bloom. But the warm weather is going to really compress the timeline this year, and it won’t be long before the NPS says that we’ve reached the “florets visible” stage. Beyond that, we have a few more defined stages before we reach peak bloom: extension of florets, peduncle elongation, and puffy white.
The indicator tree is clearly ahead of the others but isn’t flowering yet (see below). If you’re heading down in the next few days and want to see some spring flowers, head over to the George Mason Memorial, where there are tulip magnolias and some other fruit trees starting to flower.
Photos Taken This Morning
Because not all of the trees are on exactly the same schedule, I’ve included close-ups from several different trees so that we get a more representative sample.
The indicator tree typically blooms a week to ten days ahead of the others. You can find out more information about it here (including how to find it).
Here are some photos of how it looks this morning. Once again, it’s clearly ahead of the other trees but isn’t quite ready to pop yet.
Maine Ave Parking Lot
The parking lot near the paddle boats is currently open, but many of the spots have been roped off for the crews prepping the area for the Cherry Blossom Festival tents. The lot will be completely closed to parking from March 14 to April 7.
While the repairs to Kutz Bridge aren’t yet quite finished, they’ll be taking a break during the cherry blossom season because of the number of pedestrians nearby. The barges will remain in place under the bridge.
There has been a lot of work done to Kutz Bridge. The main visible repairs and improvements have been to widen the sidewalk on the southern side and install more solid railings along both sides. The widened sidewalk is going to be a great improvement when the crowds arrive for the cherry blossoms.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
After being empty through the winter, the Reflecting Pool is once again nearly filled. There’s maybe 3-4 inches left to go, but that will likely be done over the next day or two.
They’re still finishing up some construction work on the eastern end. The areas along the water’s edge, including the walkways immediately adjacent, are still fenced off.
National World War II Memorial
The fountains are still drained.
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