To our heroes

Massive episode of thunderstorm asthma Monday evening with hospitals and ambulance services swamped by overwhelming numbers of people with respiratory problems. 

Stepping back a moment, I think we can all be grateful to the medical staff, doctors, nurses, ambos and so many others, who responded so magnificently to the extraordinary situation that confronted them.

So I dedicate today's pollen forecast for the coming week to them.

Forecast for tomorrow, Wednesday 23 November 2016:

Forecast for Thursday 24 November 2016:

Forecast for Friday 25 November 2016:

Forecast for Saturday 26 November 2016:

Forecast for Sunday 27 November 2016:

Forecast for Monday 28 November 2016:

Past the half-way mark

Nov update

Here at the Melbourne Pollen Count we produce our daily pollen counts and forecasts every day from October 1 to December 31.

That's 92 days or roughly 14 weeks.

And so this week we've passed the half-way point of our counting season.  There's only another six weeks to go.

As Craig Butt's article in the Age from last year shows, we're now at the peak of the grass pollen season with the prospect of fewer high days once December rolls around.

So hang in there.  While the season's not done quite yet, in a couple of weeks you should start to notice more easy days and fewer sneezy days.

Thought I'd show you how the season is progressing using cumulative grass pollen counts from October 1.  The current season is the red line in the graph, the blue line is our average season and the two dashed lines are 1993, our worst season, and last year, the mildest season we've seen.

This year is tracking close to the 25 year average and the cumulative count is still rising.  By this time last year the cumulative counts had more-or-less plateaued, marking the end of the 2015 grass pollen season.

Our next forecast HIGH day is Monday, which looks like being pretty nasty with strong northerly winds.



Melbourne hayfever sufferers sniffled through worst pollen count day of 2016

MELBURNIANS sniffled and sneezed their way through the worst hayfever day of the year yesterday.

Pollen levels were classed as extreme yesterday, at 154 grass grains per cubic metre of air — our worst day of the year so far.

Melbourne University Professor Ed Newbigin, who runs the Melbourne pollen count and forecast website, said Monday was the second extreme day in five days.

Read more here.

The season so far

In an earlier blog I used satellite imagery to forecast that 2016 would be a heavier than normal grass pollen season.

As the latest BoM images are showing lots of green across the Victorian countryside, my prediction still stands.

Another way of assessing how the season is progressing is by looking at the cumulative total of grass pollen grains. That is, add each daily count to the sum of all the previous daily counts from October 1 – that’s the red line in today’s graph – and compare that line to the cumulative counts for other seasons. The blue line is our average grass season and the two dashed lines are 1993 – our worst season with an eye-watering total of 6,700 grass pollen grains – and 2015, our mildest season with just over 1,000 grass pollen grains.

To put 'worst' and 'mildest' into some perspective, there are 92 days between October 1 and December 31, which is the period we count. So in 1993 the average grass pollen count was over 70 grains per day. That’s well into the high range and on a high day it's likely all people sensitive to grass pollen will experience hay fever symptoms. By comparison, in 2015 the average daily count was only about 11, a number comfortably in our low range of grass pollen counts.  Most people will not experience hay fever symptoms on a low day.

Today was also our first extreme grass pollen day, that's when the daily average was over 100 grass pollen grains per cubic metre of air.  It's our first extreme day since November 28 2013 and users of our app have rated their symptoms today as moderate, that's just one step below our top rating of severe.

Happy halloween

Say what you like you’d scarcely believe
The devilry of pollen on All Hallows Eve.
Flying with witches and making you sneeze
They’re so full of tricks these ghosts on the breeze