Aside from the stunning sunshine, it sure feels like winter today. It's cold and windy, and we had the season's first freeze overnight.
The cherry trees around the Tidal Basin are mostly settled in and ready for the winter, although there are still some orange and brown leaves to come down. They're especially noticeable on the Kwanzan cherry trees, which are always about a couple of weeks behind most of the other cherry trees. But, for the most part, the leaves are down and the trees are bare.
Now we just have to wait and see what the winter weather has in store. A long and cold winter could push the spring's cherry blossom bloom late, while a warmer winter should bring it forward.
For what it's worth, some of the local professional weather forecasters have been weighing in with predictions for the region's winter outlook. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang is predicting a warmer than usual winter with less snow. In short, they're calling for "less brutal cold, more rain than snow." Topper Shutt from WUSA pretty much agrees. NBC4’s Doug Kammerer disagrees, predicting "a warmer than average December. January should be slightly colder than average, and February will likely be significantly colder than average." In addition, he and StormTeam4 predict a blockbuster snowstorm to drive up totals. We'll just have to see which outlook ends up being most accurate. Another expert, Judah Cohen, expects it to be cold and snowy.
We're not really going to know much until into the new year, so the updates are going to be few and far between until then. I don't expect any of the major predictions for the cherry blossoms' peak bloom to be issued until around early March, but you can always find the latest information here. And you can find more visitor information to help with travel plans here.
In the meantime, I hope everyone has a pleasant and safe time over the holidays!