HOUSTON (KIAH) — It’s that time of year when the oak pollen piles up along our sidewalks and curbs, and leaves a coating of yellow dust on our cars. But if you feel like the oak has been more bothersome than normal, you’re correct. In fact, Thursday’s oak pollen count of 4199 is Houston’s highest since 2019.

CW39 – oak pollen count is 4199, Houston’s highest since 2019

What does 4199 mean? According to the Houston Health Department, their laboratory uses an instrument called the Burkard Spore Trap to measure air samples. This trap resides on the roof of their building, collecting pollen and mold spores. The count represents the number of pollen grains per cubic meter of air. For oak, anything over 1500 is considered “extremely heavy”.

CW39 – Thursday’s allergy report from the Houston Health Department

Allergy forecast: Predicting pollen can be tricky, but when we look back at the pollen count archives, we know oak pollen tends to peak during the 2nd half of March, then the count gradually lessens over the course of April. However, that oak pollen won’t completely go away for weeks. In 2021, oak pollen remained on the daily allergy report through May 5th.

Another influence on the allergy report is, of course, the weather of the day. Rain can help cleanse the air a bit. We expect to see a few scattered showers briefly on Saturday morning, then a better chance of rain returns Monday to Tuesday next week.

CW39 Houston 7-day forecast