The U.S. National Park Service has revised its cherry blossom forecast for Washington, predicting the pink blooms will be at their peak next week.
Nearly 1,700 cherry trees lining the U.S. capital's Tidal Basin, a scenic spot near many national monuments, burst into color each spring in a display of floral fireworks. The Park Service provides a "cherry blossom cam" to view the spectacle.
The timing of the blooming cycle is very much affected by weather, however, and can vary over a four-week period.
This year the cherries were initially expected to be in bloom at the end of March and the early days of April, but a spell of warmer weather then altered the forecast to March 18-23.
Now, after several days of below-average temperatures, the Park Service said the trees' peak – the time when 70 percent of their blossoms are open – will occur between March 24 and 28, "centered around March 26."
March 26 also kicks off the National Cherry Blossom Festival – about four weeks of tourist-themed events, a rite of spring celebrating the trees, which were given to the United States by Japan in 1912.
A parade along Constitution Avenue, from the U.S. Capitol past the Washington and Lincoln Memorials and the White House, will take place April 16.
The cherry blossoms, one of Washington's biggest tourist attractions, last from four to 10 days, depending on the weather.
Cool, calm weather keeps the blossoms open longer, while a rainy, windy day can bring an abrupt end to the display. In the past, the peak blooming period has begun as early as March 15, in 1990, and as late as April 18, in 1958.