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Tree pollen is back in Richmond, and the worst is yet to come

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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.

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Check Richmond.com/weather for John Boyer’s videos and updates as the forecast evolves. Contact him at JBoyer@timesdispatch.com or (804) 649-6209, and follow him on Twitter, @boyerweather.

Meteorologist

John Boyer is the first staff meteorologist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the RTD newsroom in November 2016. Boyer earned his degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

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John Boyer

John Boyer, the RTD's staff meteorologist

John Boyer is the first staff meteorologist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the RTD newsroom in November 2016 after covering severe weather on television in Tulsa, Okla.

As a native of the Roanoke area, the region’s heavy snowstorms started his fascination with Virginia’s changing weather.

Boyer earned his degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society and earned their Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal in 2012.

Look for his stories in the RTD and on Richmond.com, along with videos and forecast updates for major weather events in our area.

Email him your story ideas and weather tips.

Sunday Weatherline

While snow isn’t rare for us in December, it is unusual to see it stick around. Dec. 8, 1989, kicked off a three- to four-week stretch with snow reported on the ground around the Richmond metro. Since then, only February 2010 had a similarly long-lived snow cover.

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