Our latest winter storm blew through late this past Monday night, and the image above — taken the day before yesterday — is what it looks like after a lot of the snow has already melted. The dichotomy is striking, but the damage to the blooms and buds in our area from the wintry mix of ice and snow — plus the unseasonably cold temperatures — is going to go deep this year.
Below is what this same plant looked like on March 5th last year. Oh, and don’t think we couldn’t have more wintry weather yet this season; you can see more snowy images in the posts I shared of a very late winter storm back on March 30, 2014, both here and here.
We checked the local apple and peach orchards — which are within walking distance of our house — and found that the early white peaches were pretty much wiped out… maybe even some of the early yellow peaches as well. The apple trees bloom later, so they may not be as badly affected. The flowers, bushes, and trees were all covered by heavy sleet and snow in the neighboring region surrounding us, but just 10 miles north of here they were covered by about a half-inch of fluffy snow, then topped with up to two inches of ice. Sadly, as bad as it was for us, it’ll be a lot worse for others above the Mason-Dixon line.
And what of the cherry blossoms down in DC? A couple of weeks ago I shared an image from the early blooming indicator tree here, but the majority — some 50+ percent — of the remaining buds and blooms around the Tidal Basin have been devastated by the ice and below-freezing conditions, as you can read here. So if you were hoping to see them at peak this year, well… you may want to try to get a refund for your air travel and/or lodging.
DC and the National Park Service are trying to paint as bright of a picture as they can, stating that the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin aren’t the only ones in town, that many of the other species that bloom later are still viable, and will be equally pretty to view and enjoy. But those other trees aren’t in a setting as picturesque as the Tidal Basin, so it remains to be seen what this will do to their March and April tourism figures.