Warmer weather means more pollen in the Inland Northwest

SPOKANE, Wash.– Warm and sunny days are becoming more common again in Spokane, and springtime allergies will follow. Pollen counts will stay on the high side through Thursday before rain brings things down heading into the weekend.

Allergy season is an up-and-down affair so far in 2022. Early warmth in March got pollen counts going early, but a cold April shut things down for weeks. Many places are seeing late-blooming plants and leaves are still emerging as we approach the halfway point of May. In other words, the tree pollen that’s common this time of year is likely to extend for a few more weeks, along with our allergies.

Pollen May 2022

Data from Pollen.com

This spring will go down as unusual for many reasons, including the shortened growing season that’s more akin to 50 years ago. On average there are now 27 more days between the last freeze of spring and the first freeze of autumn. That extension of the growing season also has an implication on allergies, which are expected to become more of a problem, even in the Northwest.

Freezing

via Climate Central

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It’s not just the warming climate that could lead to more allergy issues. The drying out of the Intermountain West will play a factor too. Rain is great at taking built-up pollen and washing it out of the air. Studies show that pollen counts are often higher in dry years. This is the second spring of a prolonged drought in the Inland Northwest that was started by the driest spring on record in 2021. It has been colder and wetter though in 2022, providing some regular relief from the pollen.

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Naac Pollen Seasons Eastern Wa 3 2014

Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center

How can you get ahead of your allergies? Watch the weather! A quick warm-up in springtime after some cooler weather will send those pollen-producing plants into overdrive. Long periods of dry weather also mean that pollen will keep accumulating and blowing around. Rain and cooler temperatures can drop pollen counts for a day or three depending on how long that weather system sticks around. If it warms up early in the year, so might your allergies. If it’s been cool like this year has, you might still be sniffling later into the year when it does get warmer.

Check pollen levels now