As inviting as the clear blue skies look, it's very windy, with plenty of whitecaps on the Potomac and Tidal Basin. And while the actual air temperature isn't bad, the wind chill makes it less than pleasant.
But the strong gusts don't seem to be doing much damage to the trees. I saw very few branches down. The NPS arborists have been out quite a bit recently pruning the trees and taking down the dead branches, and that seems to have helped.
A couple of cold days late last week haven't made much a dent in the overall trend of warmer than normal temperatures. The current long-range forecasts suggest not only that there probably won't be any really cold snaps anytime soon but also that we'll continue seeing temperatures well above normal at least through the end of February. Here's how we're tracking so far compared to recent years:
|December||January||February||March||Peak Bloom Date|
ˤ = partial month, in progress
* = up until peak bloom
If things pan out that way, it continues to tilt the odds more heavily in favor of an early bloom. But that always comes with a qualification: it's still quite possible for a very cold March to turn things around. We saw that happen not long ago, in 2013. But for now, at least, an early bloom is looking more likely.
If you're in the area, you might have noticed the daffodils sprouting (but not flowering yet). And if you're looking for an early taste of spring down near the Tidal Basin, there are some early flowering fruit trees nearby. I have some photos of them from this morning below.
And you can see how today compares with this time last year.
Peak Bloom Forecasts
There haven't been any peak bloom forecasts issued yet. But we can probably expect the National Park Service to issue their first forecast for the season in 2 to 3 weeks. As always, you can find the latest on the peak bloom forecasts page.
Photos from This Morning
An Early Taste of Spring
These aren't cherry blossoms--they're other varieties of flowering fruit trees--and they often come out ahead of the others. There are four trees currently blooming, some with white flowers and some with pink, over next to the World War I Memorial.
I have more details on them, including information on how to find them, in a March 2015 post.