April 10, 2013 at 6:52 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - If you haven't been experiencing allergy symptoms like burning or tearing eyes, stuffy or runny noses, post nasal drip, wheezing, and coughing, you are probably in the minority this week. After a final burst of cold weather that left Essex County residents wearing winter coats and praying for Spring, this week's warmer temperatures brought its own surprise: some of the highest pollen counts so far this year.
Weather.com has reported that tree pollen counts in the West Orange area were 2214 on Monday, 1430 on Tuesday, and 1905 Wednesday, with hickory the primary offender. A pollen count gives the average number of pollen grains per cubic meter of air. High amounts will cause sensitive individuals to experience symptoms and very high amounts will cause virtually all sensitive individuals to experience symptoms, and even those who are less sensitive.
In 1992, David Frenz posted an article in The Pollen Monitor, where he ascertained pollen and mold counts in 51 cities in the United States:
Low - <50%;; for Tree pollen, < 15
Medium - <50-75%, for Tree pollen, 15-91
High - <75-99%, For Tree pollen, 91-1500
Very High - > 99%, For Tree pollen, > 1500
As the Tree Pollen portion of Frenz's chart shows, any tree pollen readings over 1500 are considered "very high." No other pollens are being reported this week (also including grasses, weeds, and molds).
Though New Jersey Allergy sufferers may dispute it, no New Jersey city was listed on the Weather Channel's "2013 Worst Spring Allergy Cities." Wednesday's thunderstorm will lower the pollen count and more rain is expected on Thursday and Friday.