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Pollen Vortex: Can we expect a rough allergy season following this winter?

The Polar Vortex was the buzz term of the winter, but also stirred the stories of what may follow. Most common is the belief that an extremely cold winter will bring a very hot summer. What about the allergy season in between?

Netherlands Carillion near Arlington, Virginia overlooking the tulips.
Jim Schuyler

The spring season has been off to a slow start. In part we can thank the winter that lasted through March. At 6 AM on March 4th, Baltimore’s BWI hit 4°F at BWI. That broke the mark set 141 years ago in 1873 *This is the COLDEST temperature EVER in Baltimore for the Month of March! The end of the month brought a freak even that dropped 9 inches of snow on northern Carroll County on March 30th. But the true measure has been the Cherry Blossoms in DC reaching peak bloom on April 10th, a week and a half later than normal.

We did have a warm spell for 4 days as the blossoms bloomed. Baltimore hit 80F twice (April 11th and 13th). This, combined with mid April sun and ample ground moisture did lead to a burst of pollen that most allergy sufferers will attest to. But what about the entire season as a whole?

What the experts say:

Dr. David Golden, the Chief of Allergy at Sinai Hospital stands by the fact there is no science to show how bad a season will be beforehand. We wont know until we see it.

David Kerxton, the Pollen King, is a National Allergy Bureau Certified Pollen Counter in Owings Mill, MD. He has been counting pollen for metro Baltimore for 18 years and even he says he can’t predict it. So despite the fears that everything would bloom at once, it really depends on the daily weather. Warm and windy will stir up the pollen, but cool and wet will keep it down.

The good news on this note, we expect a cool and wet week on the way.

See the daily pollen count on a page I created with David Kerxton: Pollen Count Baltimore, which is updated Monday through Friday.

Note: As of April 27th, Baltimore this month is averaging temps 0.1 degrees below normal and 1.21 inches above normal rainfall.

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