By Devin Bartolotta

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — Monday’s blast of winter has done serious damage to the iconic cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. As the festival starts this week, many visitors are worried the flowers may not bloom at all.

This week was predicted to be peak time to see DC’s famous cherry blossoms, but some blossoms were no match for this week’s blast of winter.

The iconic Japanese cherry blossoms surrounding Washington DC’s Tidal Basin are unmistakable.

“They’re really pretty and whitish pink,” says Washington, D.C. visitor Cooper Gilner.

Predicted to peak March 18, this year’s blossoms were ahead of schedule.

That was until Monday night’s blast of snow, ice, and bitter temperatures caused widespread damage to the vulnerable blooms.

“Mother Nature threw us a curve ball, and it was a little cold this past week,” says Diana Mayhew, President of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Visitors expecting a sea of pink on Thursday instead met with a blanket of white.

“I would have loved to have seen them when they were full in bloom,” says Dee Pitner.

Although many of the flowers were damaged, those smaller buds are expected to bloom. Reaching their peak in the next few days.

The National Park Service predicting March 19th through the 22nd as the new peak times.

Diane Mayhew tells WJZ — the Cherry Blossom Festival will still go on as scheduled.

“We are ready to go, we’ll continue all the way through April 16th with so many fabulous activities,” says Mayhew.

Some visitors, like the Gilners from Florida, were not expecting the sudden winter weather.

“Well my husband and I are disappointed that it was so cold, but the kids are having fun and they built their first snowman,” says Courtney Gilner.

But for the million and a half people who visit the trees every year, there’s still hope spring is on the way.

It’s beautiful because it’s all the pink blossoms all the way around the Tidal Basin. It’s beautiful,” says D.C. visitor Kamani Salgado.

The National Park Service says although early next week is your best bet, there may be fewer flowers, but it’s still too early to tell how badly the blossoms were damaged in the storm.

Cherry Blossom Festival Events started last night and go until April 16th.

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