WASHINGTON -- More than 3,000 cherry trees are poised to blossom in Washington this week, just in time for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
According to the National Park Service, the pink and white flowers are expected to start opening between Thursday and Saturday.
But a weather change could move up -- or push back -- the date the flowers are expected to open so it's hard to make an exact prediction. Earle Kittleman of the National Park Service said the fragile blossoms last less than a week, and he warned that cold weather, high winds or heavy rains can ruin the flowers.
The weeklong festival opens with the traditional lighting of a Japanese lantern at 4 p.m. April 5, just off Independence Avenue by the Tidal Basin. The annual Cherry Blossom Parade down Constitution Avenue begins at 12:30 p.m. April 11.