Record Levels of Pollen in North Carolina


It is hard to decide what caused more accumulation, the blizzard from a few months ago or this year’s bumper crop of tree pollen! In all seriousness, the pollen this year is one for the record books. According to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Natural Resources’ Air Quality Division 

(just be glad you do not have to write that name on your return address every day!), the pollen levels in North Carolina are the highest they have been since the agency began to record pollen buildup in the late 1990s. According to its press release from last week, the agency measured a sample that contained 3,524 pollen grains per cubic meter at its Raleigh office and a sample from Winston-Salem that contained 9,632 grains per cubic meter! To put this in perspective, a normal pollen count during this time of year falls somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 grains per cubic meter.

Experts believe that that the sudden transition from a prolonged cold winter to a warm spring is to blame for the abnormally high levels of pollen. The protracted cold delayed tree species that normally begin to bloom early. Then once the abrupt change took place, everything bloomed all at once leading to a concentrated onslaught of pollen

The good news is that due to recent rainfall, tree pollen is finally washing away. For those of us who suffer from pollen allergies, we can breathe sighs of relief and look forward to warm spring days with no sneezing, no throbbing sinuses, and no headaches. Well, there is always grass and weed pollen to look forward to in the summer… But we will worry about that later. ¡Viva la Spring!

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