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April 12, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Pollen and Weather

This time of year always keeps a lot of people sneezing and reaching for the tissues as pollen counts rise across the U.S. It’s no surprise that some parts of the country are seeing near record high pollen counts this year. An abrupt warm-up after an unusually cold winter is being attributed to such high levels. According to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Air Quality Division, they measured a sample of air last Wednesday that had 3,524 pollen grains per cubic meter at its Raleigh office. The normal count falls between 1,000 and 1,500 in the spring.


Today’s local and National Allergy Forecast. Image: www.pollen.com

Pollen usually reaches its peak in late March and early April. This year’s allergy season is expected to be pretty bad. According to www.pollen.com, cities across the U.S. where allergies are expected to be the worst today are Denver, CO, Wichita, KS, Grand Junction, CO, and North Platte, NE. Pollen seems to be everywhere this year from flying around in the air to on your car windshield.

Image: wral.com

Allergy sufferers should avoid of a variety of different trees. The most common perpetrators are oak, western red cedar, elms, ash, poplar, birch, hickory, sycamore, cypress, maple and walnut.  In the southeastern U.S. for example, oak trees tend to be the culprit.  Trees can produce 3,000 to 6,000 pollen particles per cubic meter. But get this – it only takes 10 particles to trigger an allergic reaction.

This winter has been especially bad across portions of the Southeast and even into the Southern Plains. Temperatures were unseasonably cold and then an abrupt warm-up took place. The good news is that the tree pollen should decrease within the next few weeks and anytime you get any rain in your area, that too helps wash away some of the pollen.

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