Wet spring leads to wave of pollen over the Black Hills
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Winds in the Black Hills kicked up not only showers and thunderstorms this week, but also the arch enemy of allergy sufferers everywhere.
What do blizzards and pollen have in common? Besides the fact that most people despise both, one of them can have a very large influence on the other.
Pollen has a list of different weather factors that influence how much is produced in any given year. For instance, pollination can be pushed further into summer if cold weather persists long enough — check.
Additionally, large amounts of pollen can be produced if plenty of rain and moisture encourages excess vegetation. Check.
Lastly, high winds can kick up large amounts of pollen into a giant yellow cloud of tree by-product. Check.
All of these factors add up to the Black Hills having a high volume pollen season, especially given the cold and wet winter that’s lasted right up through the middle of May.
Friday in particular was a recipe for an extraordinary scene. You may have noticed a layer of the yellow stuff coating your vehicle, patio, and other surfaces that week, and particularly that day.
This is because a gust front pushed south through the Hills and the I-90 corridor at about 9 a.m.
To the horror of the station and those watching, we could see the gust front because of the vast green and yellow cloud of tree-nonsense moving our way.
The pollen eventually swirled its way into Rapid City — obscuring the view of Colonial Pine Hills and then almost the entirety of the Southern Hills.
Rain can help suppress the pollen, but in the end too much can encourage more vegetation — and then, of course, more pollen.
It’s a delicate balance, and this year we’ve been a little on the wild side — best to keep the tissue box handy.