Cherry Blossom Festival
Yoshino Cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin bloom on a rainy Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

When shades of pink and white overtake the nation's capital, it's a welcome sign that spring is finally here.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the National Park Service announced Wednesday that the city's famous cherry blossoms are expected to reach peak bloom this year between March 22-25. They say the dates were harder to predict after an unseasonably warm winter.

Peak bloom is defined as the time when 70% of the approximately 3,800 Yoshino cherry trees' blossoms are open. The park service says forecasting peak bloom is almost impossible more than 10 days in advance. 

"I will say, emerging from the third warmest winter on record, this has been a particularly challenging year to read the trees and to project peak bloom," said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Mall. "Due to the warmer than average temperatures, the trees never reached their winter dormancy, which is the starting point for calculating when the blooms will emerge."

The famous trees were a gift to the U.S. from Japan in 1912.

The National Park Service created a livestream for viewers to watch the trees in bloom. Officials say the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place between March 20 to April 16.

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