Cold Weather Limiting Washington’s Cherry Blossoms

20 March, 2017

This is What's Trending Today.

There are about 1,700 cherry trees planted in the southwestern part of Washington, D.C. They live along the Potomac River and around a connecting body of water called the Tidal Basin.

The city's first cherry trees were a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912.

Each year, about 1 million people travel to Washington to see cherry blossoms growing on the trees. The best time to see the blossoms usually is in late March through early April. There are parades and other events to celebrate the flowering trees and the return of spring.

About two weeks ago, we reported that an unusually warm winter had forecasters worried that the blossoms might come out early.

After all, on March 1, the air temperature in Washington reached 27 degrees Celsius.

Some of the trees were already producing pink and white blossoms.

But then the weather began acting more like winter. It got colder and snowy.

In fact, last Wednesday, the temperature was - 5 degrees Celsius. There was snow on the ground. Many of the blossoms and buds froze when the snow turned to ice.

Cold weather has killed half of the blossoms on Washington's famous cherry trees just as they were reaching peak bloom according to park service officials.
Cold weather has killed half of the blossoms on Washington's famous cherry trees just as they were reaching peak bloom according to park service officials.

The U.S. National Park Service says about half of the blossoms were destroyed.

But there are so many trees, and so many buds, that experts think visitors to Washington will still enjoy the cherry trees.

Michael Stachowicz studies the trees for the park service. He told the Washington Post newspaper that many of the buds were not harmed by the cold weather.

"Our blooms are just so dense and lush and just overwhelming," he said. "There might be some trees that don't blossom at all, but I think that will be in the minority."

While the cherry trees may not look their best this year because of the late winter weather, trees in some other cities are expected to look great.

For example, people in Korea and Japan are already celebrating cherry blossom season and posting beautiful photographs on Twitter.

And in Japan, McDonald's restaurants are getting into the spirit. There are cherry blossom-themed drinks and sandwich wrappers. Twitter users in other countries say they wish they were in Japan to enjoy them.

And that's What's Trending Today.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English based on stories from the Associated Press, and the Washington Post. George Grow was the editor.

Are there cherry blossoms where you live? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

festival – . a special time or event when people gather to celebrate something

forecastv. to say that (something) will happen in the future : to predict (something, such as weather) after looking at the information that is available

blossomn. a flower especially of a fruit tree

budn. a small part that grows on a plant and develops into a flower, leaf, or new branch

lushadj. having a lot of full and healthy growth

overwhelmingadj. very great in number, effect, or force