Allergy sufferers were likely breathing in the sweet smell of rain after a long bout of hot, dry windy weather.
“Pollens are wind born and if we get hot, dry, windy days it blows the pollens around,” says Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist.
Experts at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations agree. Although none were available for an interview, comments were emailed to the Observer Friday.
“The Salmon Arm/Shuswap area is now seeing lots of cottonwood seeds flying about, in cottonwood ‘fluff’, said the email. “The continuing dry conditions (high temperatures/low relative humidity), plus normal spring winds, are spreading the cottonwood seeds higher, further and faster this year.”
The email also noted that the pollen the area is currently experiencing is from conifer trees.
“Last year was dry, which stimulates conifer cone production, so there’s lots of pollen this spring.”
Lundquist says as well as adding moisture to very dry forests, the rain cleans the air and washes it out. On the plus side, Lundquist says the hotter than usual weather that sparked the allergy season should help it progress sooner.
“I am more worried about severe weather like we saw in Cache Creek,” said Lundquist last week of the storm-ravaged community. “All that energy, particularly when it’s humid, hot and with the high sun angle, along with a lack of general rain, that’s a thunderstorm pattern that we usually see in July and August.”