Courtesy photo of pollen exploding off a juniper tree.
Early Sneezing Season and Rapidly Disappearing Snowpack
Story and Photos R.W. with the Jemez Daily Post
Just like last year, junipers are sending out clouds of pollen a month early, and the rivers are running high as if it was Spring.
The snowpack around the state has looked good so far, but the warm weather of the last month has seriously reduced them before the irrigation season got going. Compared to other areas in the state, the north is doing well enough, better than last year, with 88 percent of normal snowpack, compared to 70 percent this time last March.
The Jemez River last week was running high as the snowpack melts off quickly. Jemez Daily Post photo
This cottonwood normally prefers to grow on dry land. Jemez Daily Post photo
Juniper allergy sufferers need no reminding that the pollen season is in full swing, with pollen counts reaching high well before their normal schedule.
It is very difficult to avoid exposure. Bear in mind that pollen counts are highest in the morning to midday. If you have that option, you can time your outdoor activities to avoid the worst of the exposure.
You can get relief from medications. Antihistamines, taken orally or by nasal spray, reduce the allergy symptoms, but are known to cause drowsiness. Some nasal steroids can now be bought over-the-counter. There are also prescription anti-inflammatory medications, but they require daily use for optimal effect. Other treatments, such as leukotriene inhibitors, whatever they are, are known to help some people.
We can balance the reduced promise of irrigation water against the threat of a huge spring melt-down of snowpack wiping out our delicate irrigation system, and flooding the Jemez Valley. We can also hope that the early allergy season means that it will end sooner. Winds, like the kind that occurred yesterday, should blow the stuff to (east) Texas and beyond any day now.
Wishful thinking (not that I mean any harm to those nice folk east of us).
The forecast calls for some cooler weather, with chance of rain and snow, to come our way after the weekend, but the El Niño effect seems to have seriously waned, and the wet Spring we were promised does not seem to be happening.