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Washington’s Cherry Blossoms Bloom in Heat Wave

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The unseasonably warm temperatures across the East Coast in November and December have thrown off many people, and apparently, the District of Columbia’s world-famous cherry trees as well.

The ‘autumn-blooming’ cherry trees are continuing to blossom on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall thanks to the unusually warm November and December, adding a taste of spring to the holiday season.

The District of Columbia’s average high in December is 47°, but through the first two weeks of the month, the U.S. capital’s actual average high temperature has been 58°, a full 11° above average. In November, Washington, D.C.’s average temperature was 53.7°, 4.1° above average for the month.

Technically referred to as the Higan Cherry, this particular cherry tree blooms off-and-on during the fall months when it’s warmer, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

A strong El Niño is likely responsible for the persistently warm temperatures, with mild high pressure anchored over much of the East Coast for much of the autumn season.

Temperatures are finally expected to come down closer to seasonable levels by the weekend, with highs by the end of the week only expected to top out in the 30s and 40s, perhaps signalling the end of the line for the blooming cherry trees, for now.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi
(Image: Michael Litterst, National Park Service)

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