Are your eyes watering from pollen? They shouldn’t be this late in the year

Emory University sophomore Isaiah Yisrael spends a mild day on the school’s quad studying last week. She was not alone, as many ventured outdoors after the morning chill to take in the warmer weather. But with higher temperatures come elevated pollen levels, and the pollen count soared above 3,000 on Thursday to set a new record.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Emory University sophomore Isaiah Yisrael spends a mild day on the school’s quad studying last week. She was not alone, as many ventured outdoors after the morning chill to take in the warmer weather. But with higher temperatures come elevated pollen levels, and the pollen count soared above 3,000 on Thursday to set a new record.

We thought the worst was behind us. And judging by historical trends, it should be.

But as those who suffer from seasonal allergies already know, pollen levels have been extremely high this week in metro Atlanta. According to Atlanta Allergy and Asthma, the daily pollen count hit quadruple digits again Friday, one day after setting a new record for the latest date the city has recorded a count above 3,000.

Friday’s count came in at 2,362 pollen particles per cubic meter of air, less than Thursday’s record-breaking 3,417 but still considered to be extremely high. Trees like mulberry, oak and hickory remained the top contributors to the count, with relatively low contributions from weeds and grasses. Mold activity was also low Friday, according to the allergy organization.

At these levels, patients with allergies, particularly to tree pollens, will experience symptoms, a spokesperson for the organization said.

Friday was the third day this week to record a count in the extremely high range, which is anything above 1,500. Before that, Atlanta had enjoyed 11 days with levels in the high range, and it looked like the yellow stuff was on its way out.

This pollen season has been one for the books. In addition to Thursday’s record, the city set new records for the earliest date the count reached the extremely high range and the earliest date the count exceeded the 3,000 mark. February, which saw a record number of days with high pollen counts, beat the previous record of 10 days set in 2017.

That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said he expected pollen levels to soar this week as dry and warm conditions dominated the forecast. Temperatures in Atlanta topped out in the 80s several days, which is more like May weather than April.

Rain and cooler weather this weekend could spell relief for allergy sufferers. Saturday has a 40% chance of a morning shower before sunshine returns for the afternoon, Monahan said. Highs in the low 70s are predicted behind a cold front.

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