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Sneeze-fest coming soon as ragweed crop looks robust

Above-normal rain and temperatures are ideal for an unwanted harvest.

David Dvorin, the region’s official pollen counter, examines specimens for his daily count in Center City.
David Dvorin, the region’s official pollen counter, examines specimens for his daily count in Center City.Read moreAKIRA SUWA / File Photograph

The weeds might be loving what has happened so far this summer, but chances are those with pollen allergies are going to hate it.

About 15 to 18 inches of rain have fallen officially in the region since June 1, more than 125 percent of normal.

And while the heat hasn't been brutal, the region has experienced several heat waves, and the overall temperatures have been just a shade above the long-term averages.

Those ingredients constitute a rather unappealing recipe for allergy sufferers, according to Donald J. Dvorin, the Asthma Center allergist who is the region's official pollen counter.

"Ragweed pollen will flood the air" throughout the region during the next few weeks, he said in his daily blog post Tuesday.

Based on historical data, the ragweed season — one of the Big Three of the allergens, along with grass and tree pollen — picks up steam during the second week in August and blooms into full flower by the end of the month into September.

As with the grass and trees, dry and breezy conditions are ideal conditions for ragweed to sow the seeds of future generations. The next few days should be fabulous for pollinating or anything else, with temperatures in the mid-80s, sunshine, and light breezes.

Showers re-enter the forecast late in the week and into the weekend, but the government says odds favor below-normal rainfall during the next two weeks.

As of Tuesday, ragweed had not crept into Dvorin's daily counts, but the probability that it shows up in the next several days is near 100 percent.

Ragweed comes in 17 varieties, and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that about 10 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to it.

It sets off symptoms traditionally associated with "hay fever," although they have nothing to do with hay and don't induce fevers.

It does have to do with assorted other torments, and can do wonders for tissue sales.