Cherry Blossom Festival Opens to Cool Temps

Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:36pm

The Cherry Blossom Festival officially began Wednesday, marking the unofficial start of tourist season in Washington, D.C.

But festivalgoers were greeted not with blooming blossoms, but with an arctic chill that blew across the region.

Visitors who made plans for this weekend based on the initial peak-bloom dates of March 26 to 30 shouldn’t get their hopes up, as the cold weather in March has pushed the peak bloom dates back to April 3 to 6.

Unlike last year, when temperatures climbed into the 80s in March, this year has brought frigid temperatures and threats of snowfall to the region, pushing back the date the snow-like blossoms will bloom.

Those who booked paddleboat tours in the Tidal Basin this weekend should bundle up — and expect not to see many blooms — as lows will be in the 30s and threats of sleet hang in the air.

The festival runs through April 13. A kickoff ceremony will take place this Saturday at the Warner Theatre. Tickets are free but reservations are required to the (thankfully) indoors event.