Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 31, 2017

The cherry blossoms are past their prime now and well on their way out. The persistent rain is knocking a lot of petals off, but there are still plenty of petals left on the trees.

DC Cherry Blossoms in 2021

It seems increasingly likely that DC will still be under COVID-19 restrictions in spring 2021 while the cherry blossoms are blooming. So it's shaping up to be a good year to follow along from afar from the safety and comfort of your home.

The cherry blossoms are past their prime now and well on their way out. The persistent rain is knocking a lot of petals off and making a light layer of white and pink cherry blossom snow on the ground, but there are still plenty of petals left on the trees.

The rain has been quite heavy today at times this morning. As you can see from the photos below, it was pouring while I was there. And that’s taking a toll on the blossoms. There’s a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon that could bring heavy rain and strong winds. And after the rain clears out in the early hours of the morning, we’ll get some breeze tomorrow (great for the kite festival!). All of that is working against the cherry blossoms at this point as they get more and more fragile.

That said, some are holding up better than others. The ones by the FDR Memorial have been a little ahead, so they’re losing petals more quickly. The ones between the MLK Memorial and the Japanese Lantern have mostly been a bit behind and are therefore just that little bit less fragile and holding up better.

All in all, it looks like there’ll still be some to see on the weekend.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on Sunday

If you’re planning to visit the Tidal Basin Sunday morning or early afternoon, you’ll have to deal with traffic and road closures related to the annual Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.

I have more information on the road closures and logistics here.

And if you’re running it, good luck!

How Long Do the Cherry Blossoms Hang Around?

How long the cherry blossoms stick around is about as predictable as everything else about them.

Sometimes they can be out for a week or even, in ideal conditions, even more. Sometimes they can be mostly gone a few days after the peak bloom date.

Once you get to 2 to 3 days after the peak bloom date the blossoms start to become fragile and can be easily knocked off by rain and wind.

It depends a lot on the weather. Cool, calm weather prolongs the bloom. Warm, windy, rainy weather encourages a quick exit. I’ve put together a photo timeline based on recent years that gives some idea of what to expect, when. It also shows how much variation there can be year to year.

Weekend of April 1-2. While the trees are past their prime, it looks like there’s still going to be a lot of flowers left to see. If you’re trying to decide between Saturday and Sunday, there will be more flowers left on Saturday.

Weekend of April 8-9.The main ones (Yoshinos) will be done, and most of them will probably be leafing out by this point. But the timing could be excellent to see the Kwanzan cherry blossoms (and perhaps the tulips, another spring highlight around here). There are fewer of them, but blossom for blossom the Kwanzans are arguably even prettier than the Yoshinos. I have more information on them, including a map showing where to find some of the larger clusters, here.

Cherry Blossom Watch on Instagram Feed

There’s a new Cherry Blossom Watch Instagram account: @cherryblossomwatch\<.

And while you’re at it, if you’d like to follow along with my main Instagram feed, it’s @havecamerawilltraveldc.


Maine Ave SW Parking Lot

It’s closed for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are currently tents, a stage, food tents, and activity areas in there for the Welcome Center.

Traffic Restrictions on Ohio Drive

The temporary traffic restrictions are now in place. Ohio Drive SW is now one-way, and the entrance to it from the Lincoln Memorial end is closed. To get to it you have to enter via Maine Ave SW and go around the Jefferson Memorial.

Photos from this Morning

Here’s how they’re looking this morning.