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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 03/22/2010

Cherry blossoms to bloom earlier than expected

By Washington Post editors

The National Park Service on Monday moved up its prediction of the peak bloom period for Washington’s famous cherry blossoms to April 1-4 from April 3-8, because of the weekend’s warm, pleasant weather, spokesman Bill Line said.

The overall blooming period prediction was also moved up to March 28-April 9, from March 31-April 11.

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Line said the weekend’s warm temperatures overnight also accelerated the blooming process. He said the new forecast was issued by the park service’s blossom expert, horticulturalist Rob Defeo.

The peak bloom period is the time in which about 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino Cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open. The average peak bloom date is April 4, but has been as early as March 15, in 1990, and as late as April 18, in 1958.

The blossoms are now in the third of five stages before peak bloom, Line said, and will shortly enter stage four -- six to ten days from peak bloom. The two-week National Cherry Blossom festival begins Saturday with ceremonies at the National Building Museum. It runs through April 11.

Dr. Gridlock offers tips for getting around during cherry blossom season.

And be sure to check out The Post’s full coverage of the 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival.

-- Michael E. Ruane

By Washington Post editors  | March 22, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Virginia  
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