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Right as Rain: Weather patterns can ease or aggravate pollen misery

by Maddie Est | May 22, 2022 at 3:00 a.m.
Maddie Est

For a lot of people, the transition seasons are their favorite time of the year. The arrival of fall and spring signal bitter cold or sizzling heat are on the way out the door.

Nice weather, changing foliage and fewer bugs create a pleasant outdoor atmosphere that can be enjoyed by most everyone. Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, these transitional seasons are tough as pollen becomes a problem, especially in the springtime.

Pollen counts usually skyrocket in April and May as new growth spreads across the area. Just in these last two weeks, you may have noticed a fine layer of yellow dust on your car. If you have had your windows opened in your home, that dust may have also settled on the furniture.

You may have subsequently noticed you are sneezing more frequently, have a sore throat or maybe even have a runny nose. This past week alone, medium to high pollen counts were recorded across Central Missouri.

There is good news though for those suffering from allergies. Changing weather patterns can reduce how much pollen is floating throughout the area.

Rainy days can be an allergy sufferer's best friend as rain works to wash away the pollen that can aggravate us. The moisture can weigh down the pollen particles and keep them from floating through the air.

When pollen is airborne, inhaling it can lead to an allergic reaction. Oftentimes, our bodies react by sneezing or having a runny nose. In a similar fashion, high humidity means there is more moisture in the air that can weigh down the pollen particles as well.

On the other hand, certain weather patterns can aggravate allergies. High winds work to blow the pollen around and lift the particles into the air. Also, short, intense rainstorms can knock pollen off of trees and plants without weighing it down. You may have noticed this last week that your allergies were particularly bad after some of the popup storms we saw.

Warm temperatures allow for plant growth which leads to more pollen available to be lofted into the air. We were fairly lucky in the early portions of this spring as cooler conditions and late frosts and freeze dates kept plant growth to a minimum. Now that warmer weather is here, it is likely pollen counts will continue to rise throughout the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, pollen is necessary for plant growth, and there is not much you can do to avoid it. Grab the tissues and look forward to summer!

Maddie Est has worked as a broadcast meteorologist and marine meteorologist since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2021. She has worked with the Missouri Climate Center and conducted research on atmospheric blocking while at MU.

Print Headline: Right as Rain: Weather patterns can ease or aggravate pollen misery


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