WASHINGTON Washington's renowned cherry trees are expected to hit their peak bloom from March 18 to 23, earlier than first predicted due to unseasonably warm weather, the National Park Service said on Tuesday.
Potentially record-setting temperatures averaging nearly 20 degrees above normal for the next week have greatly sped up the blooming of the trees, the agency said in a statement.
The National Park Service last week had forecast peak bloom from March 31 to April 3. Washington's mid-afternoon temperature on Tuesday was 79 Fahrenheit (26 Celsius).
The National Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the United State's biggest springtime parties, draws thousands of visitors each year to enjoy the pink-and-white blossoms on the trees surrounding the U.S. capital's Tidal Basin.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson)