ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando is in the red -- really the yellow—pollen counts are high this week causing discomfort for allergy sufferers across Central Florida.
News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said Central Florida is experiencing higher than normal levels of juniper, oak and grass pollens on Thursday.
Pollen, produced by flowering plants, travels by wind through the air causing allergy sufferers to have symptoms like a runny nose, itchy throat and itchy watery eyes.
The area began saw a spike in pollen levels earlier in the week jumping from 9 points to 10.4 points by Thursday on the pollen scale. The highest pollen count is 12.
The combination of a very dry and warm winter led to an early start for Central Florida’s pollen season, News 6 meteorologist Candace Campos said.
Large Oak trees covering Central Florida neighborhoods are some of the worst offenders.
During the high-pollen season people should change their air filters once a month to reduce the pollen inside their homes, Tracy Micciche with Leu Gardens said.
Micciche also said humidifiers can also help combat pollen.
According to allergy forecasting site Pollen.com, Orlando was the worst city for allergy suffers on Thursday, beating out New Orleans for the No. 1 spot. Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Beaumont and Austin, Texas, were also ranked among the worst cities on Thursday.
Compared to the rest of the Sunshine State, Central Florida is getting the worst of it this week. South Florida, the Gulf Coast and Northeast Florida are experiencing medium to medium-high levels of pollen. Residents in the middle of the state are seeing high pollen count levels.
Look at this pollen map. The rest of the U.S. is covered in green, Central Florida pops up red.
It could be worse.
While the south is dealing with an allergy nightmare, states to the northeast with the lowest pollen count numbers are getting pounded with snow in the first major winter storm of the season.