“Flowers that bloom too quickly are fair game for a late frost.”
Cherry Blossoms During Freeze
Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

After mild temperatures coaxed Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms to bloom ahead of schedule, a late winter snowstorm could spell floral disaster.

“We had this real mild winter to bring the blossoms out early,” Mike Litterst, spokesperson for the National Park Service, told the New York Times. “Then when they were at their most vulnerable, here comes Old Man Winter to crash the party.”

The cold snap is bad news for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Organizers of the annual festival moved it up five days, to Wednesday March 15, but Tuesday's sleet and snow fest had other ideas. To add insult to injury, below-freezing temperatures will continue throughout the week, potentially killing off most of the blooms, according to the Times. Due to snow, the welcome area now will not open until Saturday.

As temperatures have waivered from unseasonably warm to suddenly freezing, the National Park Service has had trouble predicting peak bloom (or if there really will be one). Those hoping to catch the cherry blossoms should follow the NPS for updates:

And for the true cherry blossom enthusiasts, there's still time to catch the blooms in Japan (if you've got the means).