AUSTIN (KXAN) — Wednesday afternoon was a fantastic day.
The sun was shining, temperatures soared into the middle 80s, and most important of all, the allergens were bearable. Cedar count wasn’t too bad with a 49 g/m^3 medium count. Winds, however, transitioned from the south yesterday to the north overnight — all thanks to a cold front that moved in. This caused the cedar count to spike Thursday. A large population of where the pollen comes from, Ashe juniper trees, are located north and west of Austin.
That means typically when we experience a cold front moving through the area, the wind shift alone causes the cedar count to spike because the northerly winds are bringing in the pollen from the north and pushing it into our area.
The winds got pretty gusty overnight, with some wind gusts over 25 mph. That also helped break off some of the pollen on the trees and further enhances the concentration of pollen being sent our way.
The forecast for the next several days has anywhere from a 20%-70% chance of rain, and that helps wash out pollutants, dust, and pollen particles out of the air.
This means that cedar counts should decrease moving forward. Unfortunately, rain increases mold counts, so expect that to spike through the weekend.
The big picture long-term also is that we are at the very tail end of cedar season. As we head into March we should see less and less cedar popping up under the scope even with future cold fronts.