Warm weather could set records, aggravate allergies

Posted February 20

— The pleasant, warm temperatures felt on Monday may have one downside -- pollen.

After a spring-like weekend, temperatures climbed into the 70s again on Monday, and the weather will remain similarly warm all week.

According to WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson, the warmer temperatures that will take over this week may increase the potency -- and length -- of pollen season.

"If you're sneezing, the pollen count may explain why," Johnson said. "Monday's count is in the high category, and the guilty parties are trees, specifically poplar/cottonwood and elm trees. Things are leafing up about two to three weeks early around here due to the warmth, and that may portend a longer allergy season."

Anyone hoping for a return to winter temperatures will have to wait for at least the next week, as highs are expected to reach the mid 60s -- usually higher -- through Saturday.​

"It's a ridiculous pattern, but it's a nice ridiculous," said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

Cloud cover will keep temperatures in the mid-60s on Tuesday, but by Wednesday temperatures will be back into the 70s and could set a record by Friday.

"80 is still not out of reach, especially on Friday," Fishel said.

The record high for that date is 81 degrees, set in 1982.

Temperatures will drop back into the 50s on Sunday but Fishel said there is the potential for another jump in temperatures again next week.

The area may not be out of the woods when it comes to cold air though, as Fishel said the average date of the last freeze for the area is April 11.

“It’s almost a guarantee we’re going to have at least one day below freezing, even as warm as this February has been,” he said.

Models show the odds of seeing a below-freezing day increase around mid-March, but even then Fishel said the chances only climb to about 40 percent.


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