Cherry Blossoms may bloom early as winter ends warm in DC region

Winter is quickly coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere, and for those in the eastern half of the United States, it looks to end on quite a warm note. 

What we refer to as "meteorological winter" officially comes to an end this week, though this is done simply for data purposes. 

Spring officially begins in a little over three weeks on the 19th of March. However, much of the final few weeks of winter will feel much more like spring around the D.C. region. 

This winter has been yet another rough one for those who enjoy the winter cold and snow. 

While there were periods of winter weather around here, it was not enough to balance out the periods of more extreme warmth, including D.C.’s first-ever 80° day in January. 

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Warmest winter in DC history 

This winter is on pace to be one of the warmest in D.C. history, while nationally it could end up being the top five warmest winters on record for the lower 48 states. 

One of the sadder statistics has been snowfall, as it was another winter of wasted potential. El Niño winters have provided some of the snowiest winters in D.C. history, but this year, the "big one" never came to fruition. 


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With a potentially strong El Niño in play for the 2023-2024 winter season, we're forecasting more snow than an average winter for the Washington D.C. metro, Northern Virginia and Maryland.

We noted way back in our winter outlook that it would be a "boom or bust" type of winter, and sadly it sure is looking like a bust. That being said, 8" of snow is still enough to make it the second-snowiest winter of the last five years — although that is another sad statistic in itself. 

Our region has not suffered alone though. New York City is running over a foot below normal, while Boston is over two feet below normal when it comes to snowfall. In fact, if they fail to reach 10" of snow this year, it will be their third least snowy winter on record. 

Will DC, Maryland, and Virginia get more snow this winter? 

While we should never write off March for adding on to the snowfall total (D.C. does average 2" of snow in March), we will say the pattern at the moment does not look promising for any additional snow this winter. 

Monday saw D.C. hit 68°F, the second-warmest temperature of the year so far, and similar conditions are expected on both Tuesday and Wednesday as a powerful storm system in the Midwest drags warmth into the eastern half of the country.  

The big difference in warmth on Tuesday and Wednesday is that it will come with a lot more cloud cover and some scattered showers. 

By Wednesday afternoon, a period of heavy rain and perhaps even a few thunderstorms are likely as a strong cold front passes our region. 

Rain may even end as a period of snowfall over the mountain areas to the west, but this is not likely in the lowlands to the east across the D.C. region. 

Behind this front, on the final day of this leap year February, almost ironically, it will end up feeling more like February as temperatures tumble back into the 20s and 30s overnight and 40s during the day. 

It will be a deceptively sunny end to the month, but just like the cold throughout much of this winter, it will not stick around long at all.  

March weather forecast in DC region 

As March begins on Friday, temperatures should quickly rebound into the 50s by the afternoon as another storm system approaches our region, giving us our next chance of showers after Wednesday. 

An early spring warmth pattern then dominates much of early March, with some guidance suggesting the entirety of the weekend and next week could be spent above 60°F. 

While the occasional rainy day threatens to push temperatures back into the 50s, there is no denying that it is a spring pattern that is going to grip the region for at least the first half of March.  

When will the Cherry Blossoms bloom? 

So what does all this warmth mean for our D.C. Cherry Blossoms? 

The National Park Service is set to release its first projection for peak bloom on Thursday this week. 

In the FOX 5 Weather Department, we believe they are going to go for an earlier-than-normal bloom given the very warm winter that our region has seen, and especially given the warmth that remains in the forecast.  

We do not have to go back too far to get an idea of when they may forecast, given how similar temperatures have been this winter to last winter in the D.C. region. 

Peak bloom the past two years has been within the first few days of spring, and we think that echoes true this year as well. 

Last year, peak bloom hit on March 23, according to the National Park Service, while the year before was March 21. 

FOX 5 is forecasting peak bloom will likely fit right inside a similar window, between March 20 and March 25 this year. 

This is just our projection! 

Tune in on Thursday to FOX 5 to get the official announcement from the National Park Service on when Peak Bloom is expected.