Met Office launches pollen forecast service

Tuesday 26th Apr 2011 by theWeather Club

As many areas of the country enjoyed blue skies and high temperatures over the Easter period, one group of people may not have experienced the soaring temperatures and light winds with as much pleasure as their fellow Brits. With April likely to be the warmest on record, hay fever sufferers have had to cope with the early onset of streaming eyes and sneezing fits. But help is at hand. The Met Office has launched a new pollen forecasting service. The new service covers the whole of the UK, and represents a real change in the quality of information available to sufferers.

There are three different types of pollen: tree, grass and weed. The tree pollen season is already underway having started in March, the grass pollen should not really get underway until the middle of May, with the weed pollen arriving in June. The recent fine weather has caused the grass pollen to arrive early, catching many hay fever sufferers unprepared. Grass pollen affects by far the highest number of people, making its early appearance a real concern. The hay-fever season is bad news for the economy as well as the people concerned. Some sufferers have such strong allergic reactions that they cannot leave the house when pollen counts are high. While precise figures are difficult to collate it is thought that four million working days are lost to hay fever every year, with 15-20% of the population suffering pollen allergies of some kind.

Yolanda Clewlow, UK Pollen Network Manager, explained: “We produce the forecast using current pollen data collected from around the UK, which is mainly species type and number, we also factor in current weather information. Local land features can have a bearing on local pollen count as well, for example coastal counts can vary greatly from those further in land. You can access a lot more information on our website, where you can use our daily pollen forecast to plan your activities and better manage your condition.”

The pollen forecast can be found at the Met Office website