Polar Vortex Leads to Horrible Allergy Season

If your allergies have been worse than usual this spring, you may have January's polar vortex to thank. Researchers say that this winter may have caused a worse-than-usual allergy season in many parts of the country. Horrible winters are apparently the gift that keeps on giving.

Because just like people, pollen tends to show up everywhere outdoors at the first sign of spring. Usually this happens gradually, with trees starting off the season in waves and grasses following closer to summer. But because of the long winter and quick warm-up, blooming couldn't begin in earnest in many areas until this week. So plants began reproducing like crazy. All at the same time. And then sending their pollen straight up your nose.

All that snow didn't help, either. "There were all of these storms and there's been a lot of tree growth," Kate Weinberger, a public health Ph.D. candidate at Columbia, told ABC News. "[Scientists] are theorizing that because we've had a wet winter the pollen season will be worse." Here's the nationwide allergy forecast, from Pollen.com. We're not sure how it could possibly get worse.

On the bright side, everything exploding in sneezy wonder at all at once might mean a shorter allergy season. But a shorter allergy season also means a more violent one, since even though they can't flower on the usual schedule, plants still have to bloom sometime. In some areas in the northeast this weekend, pollen levels more than doubled overnight.

So much for a fun day outdoors. Pass the Kleenex.