Cherry Blossoms at Risk

ANOTHER SET OF CONFUSED PLANTS ARE DC’S FAMED CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES. THE TREES LINE THE POTOMAC RIVER IN OUR CAPITAL CITY, AND WERE A GIFT FROM JAPAN - BACK IN 1912. THEY’RE ALSO THE STAR ATTRACTION OF THE ANNUAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL – BUT THIS YEAR, THE LATE WINTER COLD SNAP HAS LEFT DC’S CHERRY BLOSSOM SEASON ON ICE.

Mark Hubber, Tourist: "So I'm from Upland, California, and I'm here to see the cherry blossoms (laughs)."

NEEDLESS TO SAY THIS ISN'T WHAT MARK HUBER WANTED.

Mark Hubber, Tourist: "It's still pretty with all the snow and ice, but not quite what I was hoping to see."

NOT ONLY ARE THE BLOSSOMS NOT OUT, SOME WON'T BE COMING OUT THIS YEAR. THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SAYS A MORNING INSPECTION SHOWED BLOSSOMS AT STAGE 5 OF 6 FOR BLOOMING LIKE THESE HAD WIDESPREAD DAMAGE FROM THE COLD. THAT ACCOUNTS FOR ABOUT HALF THE BLOSSOMS MOST OF THE OTHER HALF ARE AT STAGE 4. THEY'RE BEING TESTED BY THE PARK SERVICE BUT WE KNOW TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN LOW ENOUGH TO DO SERIOUS DAMAGE TO THEM TOO.

"It's very cold. So I can understand."

AS OF TODAY THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL IS TECHNICALLY UNDERWAY BUT YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT AT THE TIDAL BASIN. THANKS TO THE WEATHER THE WELCOME AREA NOW WON'T OPEN UNTIL SATURDAY. IT'S ESTIMATED THE FESTIVAL BRINGS IN $160 MILLION TO THE ECONOMY EVERY YEAR BUT IT'S UNCLEAR HOW MUCH OF THAT COULD BE LOST IF THERE'S LITTLE TO TAKE PICTURES OF.

Mark Hubber, Tourist: "At least I'm seeing DC in the snow, which I've never seen before, so that's good."

THIS WEEK, SOME OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS WERE ABLE TO REACH PEAK BLOOM, BUT THE COLD CLAIMED ROUGHLY HALF OF THE FAMOUS FLOWERS.


Instructional Links


Website: Cherry Blossom Watch | Gives daily forecast & images

Webcam: Earthcam, Cherry Blossom Cam | Needs to run Adobe Flash Player

Website Article: National Park Service, History of the Cherry Trees

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