DC's cherry blossoms reach stage 4 of blooming
WASHINGTON - D.C.'s famed cherry blossoms are almost ready for the public to enjoy as they are now just two steps away from peak bloom!
The National Mall NPS announced on Twitter Saturday that the blooms of the Yoshino Cherry trees along the Tidal Basin hit stage 4, meaning they are in Peduncle Elongation.
During stage 4, the cherry blossom buds begin to open and the flower petals begin to show.
This means the cherry blossoms are now two stages away from peak bloom. The bloom process happens in six stages – Green buds, florets visible, extension of florets, peduncle elongation, puffy blossom, and peak bloom.
According to data from the NPS, peak bloom generally happens within days of the plants reaching stage 4 of their bloom.
Generally, depending on the weather, that happens to be between the last week of March and the first week of April.
This year's forecast says peak bloom will be between March 22 - March 25. Before the announcement, National Park Service spokesperson Mike Litterst said that because of this year's unusually warm winter, the cherry trees never reached winter dormancy – which is typically the starting point for making peak bloom predictions.
The NPS says that the trees began budding on February 23. They then reached stage 2 of the bloom process on March 1, and stage three on March 7.
FOX 5's Tucker Barnes and Claire Anderson say the earliest recorded peak bloom ever happened on March 15, 1990.