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Cherry blossom season might be coming to Japan early this year, and extreme climate might have something to do with it.

Japanese Cherry Blossom trees, also known as “sakura,” are a great source of pride for the country as well as a major must-see item on the lists of tourists from all around the world. Usually, this season is beckoned in around spring with the annual “hanami” celebration, in which people gather around the cherry blossoms, partake in spring festivities and absorb the beauty of the trees.

However, there might be a hitch in this year’s tradition as over 350 flowering sakura have been spotted throughout Japan months before regular bloom. According to tree surgeon Hiroyuki Wada, this is due to the severe weather conditions that affected the nation throughout the summer, specifically the high volume of typhoons.

Wada explained that the strength of the typhoons caused abrasions on the outer, salt layer of the cherry trees. This layer prevents the trees from blooming early by releasing a hormone that keeps everything on schedule. However, without this layer, the hormone isn’t properly released — hence the recent cherry blossom spottings that have been occurring throughout the month. Generally warmer temperatures in the region haven’t helped the issue either.

However, it should be noted that 350 sitings is by no means an extreme amount. Festivities should continue as normal for the “hanami,” and most cherry blossoms should be in full bloom by springtime.

Featured image by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

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