Thank Texas and Oklahoma for your bad allergies, Denver

Do you suffer from itchy eyes and a runny nose? Do your allergies seem worse this spring? You’re not alone. And you can blame Texas.

According to Paul Schlatter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, a combination of strong southerly and southeasterly winds and a lack of precipitation could increase the number of allergens in the Denver metro compared to what the would normally be found this time. of the year.

“I’d bet that’s what happened last week,” Schlatter says. “We always get these types of allergens at some point in the spring. What was unusual was the strength of the winds.

By April 25, NWS Boulder had issued seven severe wind warnings in April. Although the service does not keep annual statistics on wind trends, Schlatter says it would estimate that it only issues one strong wind warning on average in April.

“We can’t remember a year where we had so many high wind warnings…all in a few weeks in April,” Schlatter says.

In general, he notes, strong winds from any direction will bring allergens to the area. Combine those winds with little rain or snow, and you have a recipe for allergic disaster. This is because precipitation removes allergens from the air, providing respite after every storm. Unfortunately for Denver, there has been only one hundredth (0.01) inch of precipitation so far in April, according to preliminary monthly climate data from the National Weather Service. And it didn’t snow at all.

“Allergens stay in the air with nothing to wash them away,” says Schlatter.

Windy conditions also increase the risk of fire. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for a fire in the Denver area as recently as April 22. The service issues red flag warnings when an area experiences low relative humidity, high winds, and dry conditions.

And even after those pesky south and southeast winds die down, Schlatter says winds blowing in from the west could bring a similar amount of allergens in the coming month, as evergreen trees in the mountains release pollen when it is warmer. .

“All it takes is a little westerly wind to bring allergens to our area,” he adds. “That’s usually how we get tree allergies; it’s coming.

If you can’t stay indoors on windy days, keep allergy medicine and tissues handy.

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