Two weeks ago, we posted a story about a mysterious white dust that was blanketing the Seattle area. It was described as as thick as snow, and reminded people of the volcanic dust from the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. Now researchers think they know what it is.
Local resident Carol White took samples of the dust to Liz Amdall at the Northwest Allergy & Asthma Center, and Amdall immediately recognized it as pollen from juniper trees. On the King 5 News website, Glenn Farley quotes her as saying, “You can tell right away, it’s just very distinctive in the color and the warty surface.”
There has been an unusual spike in the amount of pollen from trees this year. Cedar and juniper trees are common in the area, but their pollen is usually knocked down by the rain. The recent warm temperatures, dry conditions and wind combined to create the current situation.
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