April 25, 2024

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Allergy season in the DMV, pollen levels creeping higher

2 min read

Tree pollen counts have been moderate to high recently.

WASHINGTON — Allergy sufferers may be reaching for their medicine soon.   

Pollen counts have started to rise in the DMV, a sign that spring and allergy season are near. The latest pollen count for D.C. showed the tree pollen count level was high. Temperatures have been above average for most of February. Trees are sensitive to warmer temperatures and will begin to release pollen.  

Cedar, cypress, juniper, elm and maple pollen are the significant contributors to the tree pollen count. It’s been at a moderate level for multiple days in February before spiking to high on the Feb. 22 report, according to the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab. 

Trees begin to pollinate in late February in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Pollen counts are typically higher in the morning, and is usually highest on mild days with no rain. 

April typically sees a peak in tree pollen. Some of the highest pollen counts between 1998 and 2020 occurred on April 25, 2009, with 4,539 grains per cubic meter and again on April 6, 2010, with 4,174 grains per cubic meter.    

Climate change is having an impact on allergy season. Data from Climate Central shows that D.C. has a longer growing season because there are more days with temperatures that are not freezing. A longer growing season, means a longer allergy season because trees and other plants have more time to release pollen. Climate Central showed that between 1970 and 2022, there were on average 20 more freeze free days. 

RELATED: Here’s what we know about when cherry blossoms may bloom at the Tidal Basin

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2024-02-24 17:17:40

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