Low overnight temperatures damaged many blossoms that had reached the "puffy white" stage of blooming, which is the fifth of six stages in the bloom cycle.
Ice covers cherry blossoms near the Jefferson Memorial after a snow and ice storm hit the nation's capital on March 14, 2017 in Washington City.
Additional varieties of trees, including the Kwanzans (the second most abundant species around the Tidal Basin and in East Potomac Park) bloom later. The National Park Service is concerned about the impact of cold weather on the blossoms.
After mild temperatures coaxed Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms to bloom ahead of schedule, a late winter snowstorm could spell floral disaster.
Officials say temperatures dipped to risky levels for the blossoms overnight, dropping to 24 degrees or below Wednesday morning. However, if temperatures drop to 24 degrees, there's a potential for "as much as 90 percent damage".
This Wednesday, a day after Storm Stella, the Cherry Blossom Festival is still scheduled to begin, from March 15 through April 2.
The NPS had been predicting "peak bloom" of the roughly 3,000 cherry trees around Washington's Tidal Basin-the time when 70 percent of the Yoshino trees are in full flower-would be sometime between March 19 and March 22. Shaking the branches to try to clear the snow and ice can cause damage, the National Park Service says.
National Park Service officials told news outlets that low temperatures of 27 degrees would result in about a 10 per cent loss of blossoms.