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'Peak bloom!': Cherry blossoms open early in DC, park service announces

Your Sunday morning news roundup | March 17, 2024
Your Sunday morning news roundup | March 17, 2024 01:22

(CNN) — The cherry blossoms lining the National Mall in Washington, DC, have hit "peak bloom," bursting open in an early spring display after a warm winter, the National Park Service announced Sunday.

"PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! Did we say PEAK BLOOM?! The blossoms are opening & putting on a splendid spring spectacle. See you soon," the National Mall NPS posted on the social media platform X.

The NPS describes "peak bloom" as when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry trees that line the National Mall and the Tidal Basin are open. They typically bloom for several days and can vary based on weather conditions.

It is the cherry trees' second-earliest peak bloom on record and follows one of Washington's warmest recorded winters. In 1990, the trees blossomed on March 15.

Winter is the fastest-warming season in Washington, DC, according to nonprofit organization Climate Central. The national capital's average seasonal temperature is 3.6 degrees warmer since 1970, adding 13 more warm, above-average days to the coldest season.

Temperatures even soared to 80 degrees by late January, the earliest occurrence on record.

Two weeks' worth of warmer days can lead to a spring season that springs sooner. An analysis by Climate Central found that DC has added 20 more days to its growing season since 1970, sending cherry blossoms blooming sooner.

The warming trend continues into spring. According to data from Climate Central, the season trends 2 degrees warmer since 1970 in the nation's capital, adding 10 more warm, above-average spring days.

After the National Cherry Blossom Festival ends on April 14, the NPS is slated to remove nearly 160 cherry trees in the capital, in an effort to repair the city's deteriorating seawalls. The $113 million, three-year project is set to begin in late spring and early summer around the Tidal Basin and along the Potomac River through West Potomac Park.

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