The “peak bloom” is the magical moment visitors want to be on hand for during the cherry blossom season. The peak bloom date is defined as the day when 70 percent of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin have opened their buds, creating an unforgettable sea of pink and white. The National Park Service is responsible for measuring the growth of the buds of the trees, and each year. the service gives a peak bloom prediction. On average, the peak bloom is on April 4, but that date changes year to year. For instance, 2012’s peak bloom occurred on March 20 due to unseasonably warm weather and then on April 10 in 2014 due to a cold winter.
The blooming period, when 20 percent of the blossoms are open before the petals and leaves fall, can last up to 14 days, depending on weather conditions. “Forecasting peak bloom is almost impossible more than 10 days in advance,” according to the National Park Service. Follow along on NPS’s Bloom Schedule for the latest bloom predictions.