Sneezing Season under way

Aesthetically, this is one of the year's most-underrated periods, with the still-bare swollen with buds and tinted ever so subtly.

But it also signals the onset of the torment season for tree-allergy sufferers. The trees are sending out their reproductive pollen, and about a million innocent people in the region may get caught in the cross-fire.

The Asthma Center's Dr. Donald J. Dvorin, the region's official pollen-counter, has begun posting the daily reports, and you can find his summary here.

Dvorin uses a Burkard Trap Device to capture pollen grains in a trap, and examines the tiny prisoners under a microscope. His counts are estimates of how many grains would pass through a space about the size of a refrigerator in a 24-hour period.

This morning, he reports that the 24-hour counts were "high," and this is looking like another good day for pollen commuting.

Ordinarily, the seasons gets cooking later in the month, but it's not that unusual for it to get off to a frisky start.

It's been quite wet, and although the winter was snowy beyond belief, it wasn't all that cold. Temperatures for the December through February period were almost dead-on normal.

If the forecast holds up, the tree-sensitive would get a break Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with rain due. Rain has a dampening effect on pollen transport.