While temperatures remained cold this weekend, there is a big warm-up coming later this week thanks to high pressure pushing offshore and returning the flow of warm air. This pattern will likely bring temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees to parts of the region.
Most of the area has seen adequate rainfall since early December, and, as long as this continues, it will set us up well for the growing season ahead. While lawns are still not turning green, the warm weather this week means pollen season is about to begin. Get your Kleenex ready and check your allergy medication.
Pollen season in general has been beginning earlier in the spring and lasting longer into the fall. A year ago, the deep snow and cold March prevented many of the trees from beginning their growth period until April, which meant a late start for allergy sufferers. This year, we are going to more than make up for this.
With high temperatures expected to reach 10 to 20 degrees above average this week, some trees and shrubs will see their buds opening.
Pollen is measured by counting the number of pollen grains in a cubic meter of air. The more grains in that space, the greater the chance you will suffer if you are allergic to the particular allergen in the air.
When it becomes breezy, with a lack of rain for several days, the pollen count grows. Rainfall captures the pollen grains and brings them to the ground where they won’t create as much of an issue.
The mix of pollens in the air will change each week as various trees, shrubs, and grasses come into bloom. This week, cedar and juniper pollen counts will creep up. Willow trees bloom early, so their pollen will show up shortly. Maples, ash, and eventually oaks come into the mix throughout spring.
The most noticeable pollen is the yellow pine pollen. You can see its very large grains on cars and, if you leave your windows open, on your furniture. Pine pollen typically occurs later in May and early June.
Snow is still possible in the long-range forecast, but, with pollen season underway, winter’s final folly is close at hand.
You can follow my forecasts here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.