Cherry Blossom Watch Update: February 7, 2016

Most of the snow has gone from around the Tidal Basin, and the cherry trees don’t seem any worse for wear after making it through the Snowzilla blizzard.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms with Washington Monument - February 7, 2016 taken by David Coleman.
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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 snow is gone (for now), and aside from some scattered piles of snow here and there, there's not much evidence of the blizzard from two weeks ago. The trees don't seem any worse for wear from the snow, and I didn't come across any fallen branches this visit or last.

The very warm start to February thawed the Potomac and most of the Tidal Basin. Now that we're back into more typical winter temperatures for the past few days there's a very thin layer of ice on maybe a quarter of the Tidal Basin.

As you can see from the photos below, the cherry blossom buds are very much still in the early stages. There won't be a lot of change to see in them over the next few weeks, but through March the progression will accelerate as they move through the various developmental stages on their way from buds to blossoms.

At the end of January we ended up just over 1° below normal for the month. Last year we had a very cold February that helped push the cherry blossoms' bloom–along with most of the area's other flowers–very late. So far, at least, there's not much to suggest that we'll get a repeat of that unusually chilly month overall, although we might be in store for some very cold nights yet.

Here's how we're tracking so far for monthly average temperatures. It's still too early in the month for the February average to be meaningful, and after a balmy first few days of February we seem to be settling in to more typical winter weather.

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

We're still a few weeks away from when we'd expect the first major peak bloom forecasts to be issued. They typically come around the beginning of March. As always, you can find the latest information on the 2016 peak bloom forecasts page.

Photos from This Morning

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Macro - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms and Jefferson Memorial - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Branch- February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Walkway - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Close-Up - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms with Washington Monument - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms And Waterfront- February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Branch and Buds - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms with MLK Memorial - February 7, 2016

Washington Monument Reflected on the Water of the Tidal Basin - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Old Trees - February 7, 2016

Ice on the Tidal Basin - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossom Branches and Washington Monument - February 7, 2016

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms with Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin - February 7, 2016

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