If you’re a hay fever sufferer like me, you may have noticed that while the weather has turned nice this weekend, the pollen counts are way up, so being outside can make you miserable. I subscribe to a daily allergy alert e-mail from Pollen.com, which for some reason rates the pollen count on a 1-12 scale — it says today will be at 10.8! I’m planning to mostly exhale.

On my America Weekend show, I asked meteorologist John Wetherbee why it’s suddenly so hard to breathe. He explained:

The polar vortex was what brought us the harsh cold of the winter. Now the effects of the cold have delayed the introduction of pollens for this season until they’ve all come out together. In other words, they’ve delayed the tree pollens, which normally come out first, then wheat pollens, then grass pollens. This year, all the pollens are coming out at the same time and creating some astronomical pollen counts. Places like Wichita, Rochester (MN), Des Moines, and Lincoln, are having some of the worst pollen counts ever recorded. While where it’s raining, farther to the south, that’s where they have the lowest pollen counts, because the rain helps wash the pollen out of the atmosphere. It’ll be like this, according to the National Pollen Service, for another couple of weeks.

If you need me, I’ll be in the medicine cabinet.