Photos Show Cherry Blossoms at Peak Bloom in Washington, D.C. During 2021 Festival

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Japanese cherry Blossom trees bloom along the National Mall on March 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Al Drago/Getty Images

Photographers have captured stunning images of cherry tree blossoms at peak bloom in Washington, D.C. during this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The National Park Service (NPS) said the the famous cherry trees located around the Tidal Basin reservoir and in the Washington Monument grounds reached peak bloom on Sunday.

"The Yoshino cherry trees have reached peak bloom after temperatures well above average for much of the last week sped us through the final stages of the blossom cycle," the NPS said in a Facebook post.

This year's peak bloom came days earlier than the initial prediction for 2021 suggested—a window of April 2-5.

The term "peak bloom" refers to the date when 70 percent of the cherry blossoms are open, creating a spectacular sea of pink and white that signals the arrival of spring.

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Cherry blossom trees bloom along the Tidal Basin on March 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Paul Morigi/Getty Images

The date when this occurs varies every year depending on the weather conditions, although it usually falls between the last week of March and the first week of April, according to the NPS.

But some years that have seen extraordinarily warm or cool temperatures have led to peak bloom occurring as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958.)

The blooming period of the cherry trees can last up to 14 days, depending on the weather conditions. Cool, calm weather can extend the length of the bloom, while rainy and windy conditions can bring the period to an abrupt end.

In addition, a late frost can prevent many of the trees from blooming at all, according to the NPS.

The park service says that forecasting peak bloom more than 10 days in advance is "almost impossible."

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Japanese cherry blossom trees bloom along the National Mall on March 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Al Drago/Getty Images

The blooming of the cherry blossom involves five stages:

  • Stage 1: Green buds—small nodes on the end of a twig—appear
  • Stage 2: Florets—larger nodes on the twig—become visible
  • Stage 3: The florets extend, beginning to fill and burst
  • Stage 4: "Peduncle elongation" occurs, which involves the nodes opening and petals beginning to show
  • Stage 5: This is the "puffy blossoms" stage when pink blossoms are visible erupting from the wide green bases of each node on the twig

According to the NPS, the four days from peduncle elongation to peak in 2021 is the fastest that the trees have moved through the last two stages in the past 30 years, matched only by 2015's blossom.

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Cherry blossom trees bloom along the Tidal Basin on March 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Paul Morigi/Getty Images

The cherry trees were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo, who gave U.S. capital around 3,000 in 1912. Today, there are approximately 3,800 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin.

Every year, people descend upon the capital to witness the blooming during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which marks the occasion, running from March 20 – April 11, 2021.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers recommend that people enjoy the festival virtually this year. For example, you can view the cherry blossoms live via BloomCam.