Meteorological Spring: Cherry Blossom Forecast Among Earliest Peaks

Meteorological Spring: Cherry Blossom Forecast Among Earliest Peaks

March 1 is the start of Meteorological Spring. The science community groups the seasons into three full months with spring being March, April, and May.  It doesn’t mean winter weather is over and done with. But you might beg to differ based on our lack of snow and cold much of this year. This past February will go down as the 2nd warmest on record in Baltimore, and that has set the stage for an early blossom. Many trees have begun to bud, and flowers are sprouting. In our area, this points all eyes to Washington DC for annual Cherry Blossom bloom and festival. The National Parks Service has predicted that the bloom this year could rival the earliest on record.  It will be close, and the weather over the next few weeks will play a big role.  If we are lucky, we will get some scenes like Betty Fowler showed us last year (image above). Here is a look how it all stacks up and links to some of the best photos of the past few years.

We have had a couple of unusual winters. Do you remember the record warm December 2015? Locally we had five days reach the 70s, and some of the Cherry Blossoms bloomed before Christmas. It was ironic that a month later we had our largest snowstorm on record. That spring (last year) had an early bloom on March 22. One year earlier, the spring of 2015 was thought at one point might rival the latest bloom on record. But it was part of four years in a row between 2013 and 2016 we had a bloom around April 9/10. Since 1921, the average peak is around April 3. Now lets go back to 2012, when the bloom on March 20 came after a mild winter.

The National Parks Service has been documenting the progress of Cherry Blossom blooms for a long time, so we have extensive records to compare to. Below is a list of the dates of the past 25 years, documenting when 70% of the blossoms have hit each of the six stages.

  1. Green Color in Buds: Mid to late February – Early March
  2. Florets Visible: Early to Mid March, Av. 16-21 days to Peak Bloom
  3. Extension of Florets: Av. 12-17 days to Peak Bloom
  4. Peduncle Elongation: Av. 5-10 days to Peak Bloom (Frost Critical)
  5. Puffy White: Av. 4-6 days to Peak Bloom

Also see:

Top Cherry Blossom Photos of 2016

Top Cherry Blossom Photos (30) of 2015 

NPS Predicts that this year’s peak bloom will be between March 14 and 17

Earliest Blooms:

  • March 15, 1990
  • March 20, 1945

Latest Bloom:

  • April 18, 1958

In this chart of the past 25 years  below, you will see three other years that had an earlier Stage 1 than is currently recorded. The actual bloom depends on the ground temperature as well as the weather conditions.

YearGreen Color in BudsFlorets VisibleExtension of
Florets
Peduncle ElongationPuffy WhitePeak Bloom
20172/24
20163/83/13 3/15 3/17 3/223/25
20153/184/1 4/4 4/6 4/84/10
20143/16 3/233/314/44/74/10
20133/113/173/263/314/44/9
20122/29 3/83/123/143/153/20
20112/283/93/163/193/223/29
20103/143/193/213/233/263/31
20093/83/123/183/233/274/1
20082/193/113/173/193/243/29
20073/53/203/253/273/284/1
20062/283/133/143/163/223/30
20053/73/223/314/34/44/9
20043/43/123/153/223/273/31
20033/173/233/253/273/294/2
20023/73/143/183/203/274/2
20012/263/113/203/253/304/6
20002/293/83/93/103/143/17
19993/163/223/263/304/14/5
19982/133/13/83/103/233/27
19972/213/23/103/133/203/26
19962/293/153/183/253/304/4
19953/83/173/203/223/274/2
19943/83/203/253/294/14/5
19933/153/223/284/24/54/11
19923/73/153/233/314/14/5

 

Also see: National Parks Service History Of The Cherry Trees

Faith in the Flowers

In a few weeks my friend Lexi Hack and I  will be bringing back these shirts and the fundraiser for Save a Limb Fund at Sinai Hospital. Also stay tuned for my new Storm Smart Assembly program. A STEM based assembly on severe weather for elementary and middle schools.

 

Get the award winning Kid Weather App I made with my oldest son and support our love for science, weather, and technology. Our 3 year anniversary of the release and our contribution to STEM education is this November. It has been downloaded in 60 countries, and works in both temperature scales. With your support we can expand on the fun introduction to science and real weather.

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