Health

Atlanta’s Likely To Have An Active Pollen Season

In this 2012 photo, pollen covers a car parked outside the state Capitol Tuesday in Atlanta. This year, it looks like conditions are coming together to produce another active pollen season.
In this 2012 photo, pollen covers a car parked outside the state Capitol in Atlanta. This year, it looks like conditions are coming together to produce another active pollen season.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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Allergy sufferers beware!  It looks like we’re going to have an active pollen season.

Pollen counts in the Atlanta area are already up this week. Turns out, it’s not just because of the warm weather.

Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist with the University of Georgia, also points a finger at our cold, wet winter.

“The cold temperatures provide that dormancy that we really lacked the last couple of years. And the wet conditions, of course, have been good because the trees are well-watered going into the season,” she said. “So they’re ready to produce a lot of flowers and a lot of pollen with that.”

All those conditions have Knox expecting a worse-than-usual pollen season. She says most of that will come from trees early on.

And while that might mean headaches and runny noses if you have allergies, Knox says it’s actually a good sign.

“The ecosystem is in a pretty good shape going into this growing season, and that’s not only for trees like pine trees but should be good for agricultural purposes,” she said.

Though this week’s temperatures are record-setting, Knox says don’t rule out another cold snap sometime in March. She also says a warm spring doesn’t necessarily mean a hot summer.