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Early spring, longer allergy season in the cards for the Carolinas

Here's a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of an earlier-than-normal spring.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As temperatures continue to warm up, you’re probably seeing some early signs of spring popping up around the Carolinas.

A closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of an early spring shows why it's important to adapt to the changing seasons.

Spring officially begins in 40 days, and you don't have to look far to see fresh blooms around the Charlotte area.   

“Right now, there’s the crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, and all those spring kind of flowers,” said master gardener Bruce Batman.

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Batman says this is the earliest he has seen some flowers blooms in two years. And the Leaf Index shows spring is 10-20 days early for Charlotte. 

This rare occurrence happens once every 11 to 20 years for the Tar Heel State. For much of South Carolina, an early spring occurs every one to four years based on the Leaf Index. 

"Everyone is really excited to see those first signs of spring, but it’s not always good news," Alyssa Rosemartin with the National Phenology Network said. "We’re definitely seeing longer allergy season and, in some place, intense pollen. Especially those early Birches, Juniper, those are seeing a lot of pollen early."

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Rosemartin says climate change is redefining the outcome of spring.

“And there’s the other trade-offs too. You might be really excited to see blossoms on a peach tree, but then because it came so early there might be a freeze event,” Rosemartin said.

Batman agrees: a cold snap could kill some early blooms.

“Bulbs tend to be resilient, so they’ll pop back. We get temperatures like what we had in December, they’ll freeze – they won’t bloom this year, but a little below freezing they’ll pop back,” he said. 

🌩️ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. 🎥 

An early spring provides a longer growth period. In addition, it also means a longer allergy season. In other words, if you suffer from allergies, a local allergist said to expect to deal with them for even longer this year. 

Contact KJ Jacobs at kjacobs3@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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