SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) -- Seoul saw its first cherry blossom blooming of this year on Wednesday, the earliest in 99 years, the state weather agency said.
The blooming of cherry blossoms began in the capital on the earliest date on record since observation began in 1922, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said Thursday.
It was three days faster than the previous record that was set on March 27 last year.
The KMA has annually announced the blooming of cherry blossoms in Seoul when more than three blossoms are observed from a designated tree at a KMA weather station in the central Jongno Ward.
The spring flowers have yet to bloom in other parts of the capital, including Yeouido, central Seoul, known as one of the city's most popular cherry blossom viewing sites.
On the southern resort island of Jeju and in the southern region, cherry blossoms began to bloom last Wednesday, according to the local weather agency.
Cherry trees flowered sooner than expected this year due to higher-than-average temperatures and longer daily sunshine duration in February and March, the KMA explained.
Last month, the average temperature in Seoul was 2.7 C, 2.3 C higher than normal, and the monthly sunlight hours were 17.7 hours longer than usual. This month, the average temperature of 8.3 C is 5.1 C higher than usual and the sun has shone 20.2 hours longer than usual.
Despite the blooming of cherry blossoms and other seasonal flowers, almost all spring blossom festivals in Seoul have been called off or reduced for the second consecutive year amid little signs of a letup in coronavirus outbreaks.