Dry winter brings early start to allergy season

2:00 PM, Jan 25, 2014   |    comments
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Tree pollens have recently started showing up in higher quantities as the warm weather conditions bring an early start to allergy season.

Pollen is produced at different times of the year, but is typically most noticeable in the spring with the abundant plant life. This year with highs in the 70s to near 80, pollen is finding a beneficial environment for production.

A stubborn high-pressure ridge parked off the West Coast has blocked storms from cleaning the air in the state, particularly in the agricultural heartland. This winter, a haze of fine particles has cloaked the skies from Stockton to Bakersfield.

Pollen is produced as part of a plant's reproductive process. It is transported by insects or wind. Plants like trees, grasses and weeds have small, light pollen that is carried primarily by wind. So on a windy day, allergy sufferers may be unusually uncomfortable.

The Los Angeles Times reports the air is so bad that even healthy people are affected and are urged to stay indoors. Typically, such warnings go out in the summer and are aimed at the elderly, children and people with breathing problems.

Conditions are expected to persist through nearly the end of January. A weather system moving into the area has the possibility of bringing some well needed rain and slightly cooler temperatures. This would give us a bit of relief from allergies and help the on-going drought.

News10/KXTV and the Associated Press

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