Sometimes, pleasant weather can be too much of a good thing. That certainly seems to be the case as March draws to a close. We’ve now gone since March 16th without any rainfall (and really since the first of the month since we’ve had more than a third of an inch of rain). Overall, we’ve had about 25% of the normal precipitation that you would expect in March.
Meanwhile the second half of the month brought temperatures 10 degrees above normal, including at least on record high. The warm weather, in turn, brought out record amounts of pollen, as every tree and flower decided to do its thing at the same time. This morning’s pollen count at the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic is 5937 — the highest so far this month.
Today’s pollen count is higher than what we saw any time during 2006, when the season peaked on April 3rd with 5861 pollen particles per cubic meter of air. And, it appears that it’s the highest count since April 12th, 1999, when the count reached 6013. That year, we had cooler than normal weather for the last week of March, and then temperatures 15 degrees above normal and dry conditions for the ten days leading to the record — much like what we’re seeing this year.
We’ve been in a summerlike weather pattern for the past two weeks, with an upper level high pressure system off the Atlantic Coast. If it were summer, your meteorologists would be calling it the Bermuda High. While much of the rest of the country is seeing normal spring weather, the high has kept things calm in the southeast.
That’s going to change over the next few days. The upper level high is weakening, and that’s going to allow some surface fronts into North Georgia. There’s a slight chance of rain this afternoon — and we don’t need much to bring the pollen down — and a better chance of rain on Sunday. There is also a chance of rain from Tuesday into Wednesday. After that, it may be cooler than normal for Masters weekend, before a return to seasonable temperatures for mid-April.