Ominous green cloud towers over town as storm stirs up rare pollen haboob

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
April 09, 2019, 3:56:19 PM EDT

Promo pollen haboob

A thunderstorm kicked up a pollen haboob in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Facebook/Jeremy Gilchrist)

A wall of pollen preceded a severe storm, and it resembled a dramatic weather phenomenon more common in the deserts of the southwestern United States.

Blooming plants spread a plethora of pollen across the Carolinas that accumulated on many outdoor surfaces during a short stretch of dry weather. This dry spell came to an end on Monday when strong thunderstorms swept across the region.

Gusty winds ahead of the storms sent clouds of pollen hundreds of feet into the air, reminiscent of a phenomenon known as a haboob.

Haboobs are common in desert climates when wind expanding out from a thunderstorm kicks up a wall of dust into the air. These can be dangerous, greatly reducing visibility and making travel nearly impossible.

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The pollen haboob on Monday was not nearly as intense as those in the desert; however, it was very rare in comparison, as they can only happen around the time plants are blooming in the spring.

After gusty winds blew around the pollen, heavy downpours helped to wash it away.

Small streams and water rushing into storm drains were colored green due to the pollen-filled water, while pollen-glazed puddles pooled in many areas following the storms.

(Twitter photo/Michael David)

A pollen-glazed puddle following storms in North Carolina on Monday.

(Twitter photo/@LaceyB213)

A stream of pollen-filled water in North Carolina following Monday's storms.

(Twitter photo/@mindovergrown)

A storm drain caked in pollen after pollen-filled water flowed into the drain.

(Twitter photo/Cori Silker)

A road covered by pollen-filled rianwater in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

(Twitter photo/Alison Hall)

A stream turned green in Raleigh, North Carolina, due to pollen-filled water.

(Twitter photo/ricksterps)

Pollen that accumulated in a parking lot ahead of Monday's storms.

(Photo/Clarke French)

A puddle of pollen-filled water next to a bed of flowers.

(Photo/Mary Hudzinski)

A puddle of pollen in Durham, North Carolina.

Dry weather is expected to return at midweek before rain returns on Friday.

The impending bouts of rain will help to scrub the atmosphere of pollen and, potentially, spark another pollen haboob.

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