Horrible Ragweed Season Expected in East for Fall 2012

By , Meteorologist
August 17, 2012; 3:25 AM ET
Share |

Allergy sufferers across the East may be reaching for more tissues this fall with a strong ragweed season forecast.

In most cases, dry, windy weather stirs allergens, while rain helps to wash them away. For instance, ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall, and ragweed pollen can be carried as far as 400 miles by the wind, according to everyday HEALTH.

"Okay - not really. But I am very lucky to not have these Atlanta allergies that 99.9% of people have. :) My little loft is covered in yellow dust though because I've left my doors and windows open 24 hours a day for the past few weeks," Flickr user brookenovak said.

However, with the hit-or-miss nature of rain during the fall, rain can help clear out allergens in one area, while pollen counts may remain high in nearby areas, according to Neil Kao, M.D., from Greenville, S.C.

Before the allergy season, ideal temperatures and rainfall are important to examine to determine whether allergies will be bad, Kao said. Warm temperatures and decent rainfall are needed in order for plants and weeds to grow and produce pollen.

Warm weather and enough rain recently have set the stage for ragweed to grow and produce pollen efficiently across the East.

Fall 2012 is expected to be mainly warm and dry across the Northeast, allowing ideal conditions for ragweed pollen to be abundant in the air. While above-normal rainfall is anticipated in the Southeast for the fall, the hit-or-miss nature of rain could still cause those with ragweed allergies to suffer through much of the season.

It is important to note that ragweed allergies vary from north to south across the U.S., depending on when the weeds are pollinating.

"Peak of the season is earlier farther north and later farther south because it is warmer," Kao said.

David Shulan, M.D., from Albany, N.Y., said that the typical ragweed allergy season for the area is Aug. 15 to Sept. 15.

The ragweed season around Greenville, S.C., usually peaks around Sept. 19-20.

Other Typical Fall Allergies
An exception to the rule of thumb about wet weather washing allergens away is mold, which thrives in damp spots both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores peak through October, growing readily on damp leaves in the fall. When cold weather arrives in the fall, mold goes dormant, ending the threat for outdoor mold.

Other allergies like dust can occur year round; however, the first time the furnace is turned on with the arrival of chilly air in the fall, dust is stirred.

"Indoor allergies ramp up when you start closing up the windows. Dust mites and pet allergies are the big things that start to bother people," Shulan said.

Most Common Fall Allergies, Treatment:


Comments left here should adhere to the AccuWeather.com Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News

  • Sandra Targets Northern Mexico With Flooding Rain

    November 25, 2015; 2:46 PM ET

    Hurricane Sandra remains on track to target northern Mexico Friday and Saturday, but it should be much weaker at landfall than the major hurricane status to which it is currently strengthening.

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High N/A
Low N/A
Precip N/A


This Day In Weather History

Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton (1971)
Heavy snowfall in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. It started to snow the night before, and by about noon Thanksgiving Day 11/25/71, 20.5 inches of snow was reported on the ground at the Avoca, PA airport. Some of the surrounding areas had even more snow. Dallas, PA, had 27 inches and parts of the Poconos had as much as 30 inches. Barn roofs collapsed, power lines were downed, and tree branches were broken. The majority of the snow fell within 12 hours.

AL/GA/FL (1979)
A dozen tornadoes across these states.

Astoria, Or (1998)
5.56 inches of rain fell, setting a new all-time record. the previous rainfall record was 4.53 inches from January 9, 1966.

Rough Weather