NC pollen counts hit peaks for season at ‘very high’ levels


Since the rains in central North Carolina stopped earlier this week, the pollen is back in force, with levels reaching up to 2,338 grains per cubic meter in parts of Raleigh.

A state agency that tracks pollen counts in the Raleigh area said the count Thursday was “very high” with 2,338 grains per cubic meter.

Triangle AJ Ware got video of pollen floating and piling up in the shallow areas of Jordan Lake along N.C. Highway 64 on Thursday.

“You said pollen count would be high! This is Jordan lake off Hwy 64 this morning,” Ware said with his video.

The high pollen count was coming from trees and actually peaked on Wednesday at 3,277 grains per cubic meter, although levels only fell a small bit on Thursday.

The trees producing the pollen this week are oak, sweet gum, pine, and mulberry.

The agency that monitors pollen in the Raliegh area is part of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. It monitors the pollen count from a sampler off Reedy Creek Road.  

In North Carolina, trees typically provide the most pollen in the early spring with grasses peaking in May and weeds increasing in June, but hitting their yearly highs in September.

Weeds and grass are currently not causing the pollen spike, but as recently as April 5, grasses were moderate in the Raleigh area.  

The Raleigh pollen report, which is the only one in the state being operated by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, has a calendar that allows a detailed look at previous days along with a Twitter feed.

In Charlotte, the National Allergy Bureau keeps a daily pollen count and a calendar for recent months which is sorted by pollen type. 

Forsyth County authorities maintain a pollen count that is updated daily — along with a forecast that can predict levels three days away. Pollen levels in the Triad area, including Greensboro, have hit the “very high” level.

Here is the forecast from Forsyth County officials for the next few days:

“Despite some morning cloud cover, the lack of significant rain has allowed for tree pollen levels to remain VERY HIGH today across the Triad. Southerly winds will persist through the day and into the evening prior to the arrival of some scattered showers early Friday, allowing for tree pollen levels to remain VERY HIGH through tomorrow morning (but should fall as showers continue into the afternoon).

The frontal boundary associated with Friday’s rain stalls/washes out across the Triad on Saturday, keeping skies mostly cloudy through the day with slight chances of an isolated shower or two. Tree pollen levels should begin to fall, but will likely remain HIGH Saturday. Winds increase from the south on Sunday ahead of a strong cold front moving in from the west, allowing for tree pollen to remain HIGH until showers/storms move through in the afternoon.”

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