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Weather or Not: Peak cherry blossom date announced

The iconic D.C. cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin are expected to be in peak bloom a bit earlier this year.

National Cherry Blossom Festival representatives announced this year's peak bloom is expected to be March 24-31, a bit earlier than in years past.

The peak bloom date has remained consistent in recent years. (2011: March 29; 2010: March 31; 2009: April 1; April 28: March 29; 2007: April 1). But temperatures are expected to be warmer-than-average this month, thus leading to the possibility of the blossoms coming out sooner than usual.

The earliest peak bloom date, by the way, was 2000. The peak bloom was March 17 and tied to unusually warm weather in the Mid-Atlantic. The Capital Weather Gang indicated the peak bloom date is not affected by the warm meteorological winter we just had. The National Weather Service indicated the average temperature from December through February at BWI Airport was 40.7 degrees, the seventh-warmest on record. The warmest was 45 degrees in 1931-32.

March certainly started out balmy. Highs for Thursday: 70 degrees at Reagan National Airport, 67 at BWI Airport and 67 at Dulles. Expect it to be cooler Friday with highs in the upper 50s, according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms are possible late Friday night and early Saturday. The warmer it remains this month, the earlier the blooms are likely to appear.

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