Warm weather blew back into Richmond this week, and troublesome tree pollen came along for the ride.
The pollen count collected by Becky Collie at Allergy Partners of Richmond shot up from 6 grains per cubic meter on Wednesday to 153 on Thursday, and 672 on Friday.
A count above 90 is in the high range, and 1,500 is the threshold for a very high reading.
The early-season peak of 1,868 on Feb. 21 was mostly from cedar.
On Friday, the collection was 85 percent pine.
Oak, birch, sweet gum, hickory, pecan, cottonwood and poplar have joined the mix, too, along with some lingering cedar.
The cold March was good for at least one thing: It kept the tree pollen levels down in the low range on most days.
“Due to the cool start to this spring, I believe the peak pollen count day will be later than usual,” said Collie. “But make no mistake, it will come.”
Since Collie’s observations began in 1988, the spring peak has most often occurred in the middle of April and usually gets to at least 2,500.
Last year, the oak-driven peak happened on April 12 with an unusually high count of 4,077.
The highest count of all time was 5,200 on April 15, 1998.
As of Friday, grasses and weeds are still inactive, and mold spores are holding steady in the low range.