WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The National Park Service has bumped up dates for the cherry blossoms’ peak blooming period.

Due to this winter’s balmy temps, the bloom is expected earlier than the average of April 4.

Two weeks ago, expert bloom predictor Rob DeFeo said to expect maximum gorgeousness between March 24 and March 31. Today, after days straight of temperatures reaching into the mid 70’s, DeFeo his previous prediction, moving them forward to March 20 through March 23. Blooming is now expected to being around March 18, 2012.

To see how much progress they’ve made in just two weeks, look at these photos from just March 1, 2012.

Unusually warm or cold temps can affect the blooming, with the earliest ever recorded on March 15, 1990 and the latest to-date on April 18, 1958.

Meteorologist Howard Bernstein had a perfectly good explanation for the early bloom. “We had an incredibly mild winter, one of the warmest Februaries on record and the last week or so we’ve been in the 70’s now and we even got some 80 degree readings.” Bernstein continued, “With temps running 20, 25, even 30 degrees above average…no mystery why things have been blooming out all over.”

An All News – 99.1 reporter stopped by Hains Point at East Potomac Park in D.C. where she talked to one family of tourists, who had to change plans to come earlier because they did not want to miss the beautiful blossoms bloom.

WNEW’S Kimberly Suiters has more from Hains Point…


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