Cherry trees in the Tidal Basin reach Tier 5 – NBC4 Washington

Cherry trees in the Tidal Basin have reached puffy white, the fifth stage of their flowering cycle, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Saturday.

“The blossoms are starting to show, now we’re just waiting for them to open. This is Stage 5 – Puffy White. Next stop is the peak bloom!” @NatinalMallNPS tweeted.

The flowers reached the fourth instar on March 12th and the first instar on February 23rd.

Puffy white is the final stage before Yoshino cherry trees reach flowering. The NPS defines peak flowering as when 70% of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin have bloomed.

For Khurum Nasim and his daughter Ameerah, the festival is an annual tradition.

“We live in … Loudoun County, so we just drove over here and walked around,” Nasim said. “I usually do this every year and bring the girls with me.”

For Alonna Whittle and Kaleb Roode, a Philadelphia couple, the start of the festival was the perfect out-of-state date night.

“We got here a little early today, but we decided to save the cherry blossoms for sunset time just so we can see a different landscape,” Whittle said. “They seem to be blooming early this year, so we’re pretty excited to be here and see it this year.”

The big question now is: will cold temperatures affect buds before they reach their peak?

Storm Team4 meteorologist Clay Anderson has the forecast.

The NPS said the critical temperature at which frost burn can occur on the petals is 27 degrees. Storm Team4 meteorologist Clay Anderson forecasts the region will be near this Saturday and Sunday night.

Nasim said it worries him a little because “it’s always nice to see it when it’s in bloom” and the cold could threaten that.

Others remain optimistic.

“I think they’ll keep blooming because temperatures are going to rise again for the rest of the week, so it’ll be even nicer to see,” Whittle said.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Amelia Draper predicted that the cherry trees will peak between March 15-20.

NPS has predicted the flowering time of the buds for March 22-25.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in DC from March 20th to April 16th

If you make the blooms a part of your weekend plans, organizers recommend getting there by public transport. The Metro offers free parking on weekends and a $2 one-way ticket throughout the festival.


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