By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Washington’s cherry blossom festival is still underway, only it’s pretty much over for the actual blossoms.

That’s because the weather that brought early blooms also produced a sudden bust.

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On March 1, instead of the usual freezing wind blowing off D.C.’s Tidal Basin, it was near 70 degrees outside. Warmth that came at the end of a mild winter had the blossoms budding earlier than usual.

“The warm winter has really definitely advanced things,” a park ranger told WJZ then. “We’ve reached the green bud stage, and it’s one of the earlier ones we’ve ever seen.”

That moved up the peak bloom prediction to mid-March. But then snow and freezing weather hit, pushing peak bloom back again.

“We lost probably 50 percent of the blossoms that were just about to come out when that cold snap hit,” says Mike Litterst, with the U.S. Park Service. “You might notice the colors are a little less dense. Some darker areas where the blossoms have already died.”

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Still, people who traveled to see the cherry blossoms are trying to make the best of it.

“We were really hoping the weather would be a little bit better for the cherry blossoms, but we still get to see them,” one tourist said. “So we kind of timed the trip to get at least part of the bloom.”

And there is still beauty enough to go around, though what’s left is now fading.

But then again, the brief duration of the blossoms is part of their charm.

While they may be mostly gone, events for the Cherry Blossom festival will continue through April 16.

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