WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Pining for Less Pollen

Posted April 2, 2007

Hearing Mark Roberts refer to the yellow-green coating around the area, with a little light rain falling onto it this morning, as "pollen porridge," brought to mind a number of questions we've received to the effect, "when will it be over?" Unfortunately, there's no way we're aware of to forecast with precision when the pine trees will stop the deluge, and there may of course be a few waves of enhanced releases owing to varying weather conditions and to sequential releases by differing species. Nonetheless, on average our pine pollen window runs from about late March into mid-May, with the principal releases usually lasting for about 2-4 weeks. If that holds up this year, with any luck we may see the pollen taper off by around mid to late April this year.

There certainly has been a heavy outburst so far, with pollen counts far above historical averages at times, and not just for pines but for some of the other, more allergenic though less visible, species. I had my own experience with the intensity of this year's pine releases last week, when my wife and I spent some time over along the Pamlico River in Beaufort County. Winds were unusually light for about two days when we first arrived, which probably allowed for an especially strong buildup of material on the small male cones that produce the pollen. Finally, late in the day on Wednesday, some thunderstorms developing nearby produced a series of sudden gusts to around 15-20 mph, and the trees along the shore just erupted. We happened to be out on a pier at the time and it was an amazing site, as thick puffs and plumes of pollen flew out of the trees and across the water. Within just a few minutes, the wind had mixed the pollen and produced an eerie "fog" of yellow-green all around the area. Every surface was given a light coating in a hurry, and skin took on the feeling it had been dipped in talcum powder. Fortunately, as with most people, neither of us has much of an allergy to pine pollen. Even so, there was enough in the air to irritate the throat and eyes a bit, and we decided to head indoors - the good news was that one of the nearby storms rolled through shortly afterward, and left the air much cleaner in the wake of some moderate rain.

10 Comments

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  • Hank Apr 4, 2007

    Lets blame this pollen on Global Warming!

  • Student Nurse Apr 4, 2007

    Don't worry, everyone. There won't be any trees left in 5 years. Just rows and rows of cheap houses with huge garages.

  • North Carolina Native Apr 3, 2007

    is this pollen creating a heavy crayon scent? Anytime i spend time where the sun is bright i can smell crayons!

  • fustigator69 Apr 3, 2007

    try having allergies all year long,a constant sneezing, red eye, headache, breathing misery...it just gets worse during spring

  • Ashen-Shugar Apr 3, 2007

    I was referring to the smell as well as the pollen. One is worse than the other there.

  • CestLaVie Apr 3, 2007

    Ashen-Shugar: lots of pine trees in the 440 area by the 64 bypass?? I guess I've been too busy watching traffic to really notice. They're probably on the side of the inner beltline.

  • CestLaVie Apr 3, 2007

    I am more allergic to the tree pollen that happened a month ago, so am not sneezing my head off with this batch of yellow stuff from the pine trees. But it sure is ugly on everything. I too love winter and hate to know that the heat and humidity will be arriving all too soon.

  • Riverracer Apr 2, 2007

    I live on the Pamlico and I can attest to that. The pollen clouds are something to behold. I love winter for that reason!

  • Ashen-Shugar Apr 2, 2007

    If you really want to see how bad it is carry a powerful flashlight outside and shine it upwards. Everything you see floating in the beam is what your allergies are enjoying. Kind of gross if you think about breathing it all in. I keep my air in the car on recirculate so that it doesn't come in the vents as bad. It also helps passing by that part of 440 where the 64 bypass is.

  • packandcanesfan Apr 2, 2007

    and people wonder why I love winter so much! :)