Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 2, 2016

It’s a sunny but cold and windy morning on the Tidal Basin. I’ve also included some photos of how the so-called indicator tree is progressing.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016 taken by David Coleman.
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UPDATE: The NPS has now issued its prediction that peak bloom will fall during the period March 31 to April 3. More information here.

It's still too early to guess with much confidence when the 2023 bloom will be. But we've seen a much-warmer-than-normal January, and long-range forecasts suggest above-average temperatures continuing as we get deeper into February (after a short very cold spurt at the beginning of the month).

On average, Washington DC's cherry blossoms bloom around late-March into early April, but the precise timing varies year to year depending on the local temperatures in the leadup to the bloom. You can find general information on the 2023 bloom to help plan your visit here.

The main news today is that at a press conference later this morning the experts at the National Park Service will issue their first peak bloom prediction for the 2016 season. I'll of course provide an update as soon as it's issued, and as always you can find the latest information on the 2016 peak bloom predictions page.

The Tidal Basin isn't the most pleasant place to be this morning. Yes, there's sun, but there's also a very strong and cold wind blowing. It's not too bad on the northern side that's fairly protected, but once you get over to the southern side around the Jefferson Memorial you get blasted. It's whipping up white caps on the Tidal Basin and sending cold spray over the retaining walls.

It's a bit of a change from the past several days of warm, spring-like weather. I've even come across some scattered daffodils and fruit blossoms starting to bloom (although most of them haven't yet).

This morning I went around to the south side of the Tidal Basin to get some shots from the indicator tree, which are below. It's not the easiest tree to get close-up shots of at the best of times because most of its branches are high up, but this morning it was especially tricky with the strong winds blowing the branches around. But as you can see, at this stage there's not much visual difference between its buds and the ones on the other trees. I'll take some more photos of it over coming weeks, and we'll start to see it move through the next development stages ahead of the others.

And see below for the current status of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, FDR Memorial water features, and fountains of the National World War II Memorial.

Temperatures

Here's how we're tracking so far for monthly average temperatures. February ended up just a shade over the historical average.

DecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarchPeak Bloom Date
2022-23-1.6+7.7-3.2ˤ?
2021-22+5.9-2.9+2.6+5.0March 21
2020-21+1.7+2.6-1.2+4.2March 28
2019-20+2.4+6.4+4.8+7.3*March 20
2018-19+3.8+1.2+3.2+0.0April 1
2017-18-0.5-0.3+6.3-3.2April 5
2016-17+2.1+6.1+8.7-0.7*March 25
2015-16+11.5-1.1+0.9+6.5*March 25
2014-15+4.0-0.4-8.7-1.5April 10
2013-14+2.6-3.8-1.2-3.9April 10
2012-13+5.9+4.3-0.7-3.0April 9
2011-12+4.9+4.7+5.3+10March 20
2010-11--1.3+3.6-0.9March 29
Data sources: National Weather Service / National Park Service.
ˤ = partial month, in progress
* = up until peak bloom

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 March 3, 2015.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

The Indicator Tree

Here are some shots of the so-called indicator tree, a single tree that is consistently ahead of the others. You can find out more about it here.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Indicator Tree - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Indicator Tree - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Indicator Tree - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Indicator Tree - March 2, 2016

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

As usual since the upgrades a few years ago, the Reflecting Pool is drained for the winter. They're doing some construction work repairs on it on the eastern end.

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.

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Drained - March 2, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2016

FDR Memorial Water Features

They're all still drained.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 2, 2016

National World War II Memorial Fountains

They too are still drained.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2016

Spring is Coming

And in case it feels like spring is still a long way off, I took these photos in Arlington yesterday.

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