Though springlike weather has been slow to arrive for much of the Eastern United States, allergy sufferers may soon pay the price for winter's unhurried retreat.
Prolonged winter weather, like much of the Northeast has seen, can sometimes delay the start of tree pollination, according to Dr. Mauli Desai, division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Mount Sinai.
Delayed pollination ultimately delays the onset of spring allergies, but that doesn't mean the season will be mild overall.
"This year sets up a lot like last year, especially with the late warmup," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.
"It will probably be a delayed pollen season, but it will be quick-hitting and rough when it does arrive in the East."
The lingering cold air could push the peak of the season back until June, according to Reppert.
Additionally, stormy weather forecast for the region this spring will be a double-edged sword for the allergy-prone.
"Rain will wash out some of the pollen, mitigating allergic symptoms, but it'll also allow more to grow," Reppert said.
According to Desai, allergy sufferers will feel more symptoms on warm, breezy and dry days, where the pollen count is high.
In the Midwest, late-March temperatures are running closer to normal, allowing the season to start on time.
Precipitation is forecast to be slightly below normal for the region, however, keeping the allergens at bay.
Areas from from Philadelphia on southward to Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia should brace for a potentially severe season.
"Those with allergies may already be feeling it in the Southeast, with the season set to peak in April," Reppert said.
For the mid-Atlantic, the harshest conditions could hold off until late April and May.