The Yoshino trees are critical, because they make up the vast majority of all the trees around the basin, mixed in among slower-to-open varieties, like Kwanzan and Takemensis, which escaped the winter blast largely unscathed.
The National Park Service said Friday that despite the recent frigid temperatures, about half of the cherry blossoms have survived the cold and will likely emerge over the next week or so around the Washington Tidal Basin area.
(March 17) Ice covers cherry blossoms near the Jefferson Memorial after a snow and ice storm hit the nation's capital on March 14, 2017 in Washington.
They start to sustain damage when temperatures hit 27 degrees.
When it drops to 24 degrees, as many as 90% of exposed blossoms can be affected.
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While the East Coast has experienced colder-than-normal temperatures and several inches of snow late in the season, it has not deterred this year’s cherry blossoms from blooming.
In fact, over the past 90 years, the cherry blossoms have actually been blooming earlier.
During the recent cold snap, temperatures hit the critical 27-degree mark just before midnight Tuesday, and stayed below that level for almost 10 hours.
During one five-hour stretch, temperatures even fell to around 22 degrees.
#Bloom Watchhttps://t.co/DCGBTp SIi8pic.twitter.com/LUw Ks3yke3— National Mall NPS (@National Mall NPS) March 17, 2017Park officials said half of the Yoshino blossoms were damaged and won't bloom this year, which adds up to about one-third of all blossoms around the basin and nearby park not appearing.