WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - It's hard to imagine that with all the snow and record-breaking cold temperatures, people are already talking about cherry blossoms.
But tourists who circled the Tidal Basin on Tuesday used their imagination to picture what the blossoms are like at peak bloom.
"That would be beautiful to see," said tourist Clarice Sturges.
Despite winter's grip on the nation's capital, we learned that a clear sign of spring is not too far away, as the National Park Service announced at a lavish press conference that the peak - when 70 percent of the trees around the basin are in bloom - will officially be between April 8 and April 12.
Fortunately, the rough winter we have had so far won't be impacting the blossoms.
"What's really important is what the weather will be in March," explained NPS Chief Resource Manager, James Perry. "So the blossoms, or I should say, the buds, are naturally protected during winter -- that's a dormant phase."
The Park Service also says that barring a major ice storm, they are pretty confident with the predictions. And after a year of TLC, the more than 3,000 trees will all be back for a command performance.
And clearly, there are many who can't wait for the blossoms to be camera-ready. These British tourists booked their trip this week, thinking they would have the timing right. But they'll leave on Friday, disappointed.
"It'll be beautiful, it will be gorgeous. We're really upset we'll miss it," said Natalie Pickens.
The predicted peak bloom falls entirely within the three-week National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 20 to April 13. The festival features a wide variety of events celebrating the trees and Japanese culture.
This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States.