Climate study looks bad for allergies, gardens - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Climate study looks bad for allergies, gardens

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CHATTANOGA, TN (WRCB-TV) -- Supercomputers at The University of Tennessee and at Oak Ridge have been crunching climate numbers for some time and the results don't look good for many of us.

More frequent rains and heat waves may be on the horizon for the Tennessee Valley in the coming years. If you suffer from outdoor allergies you may be spending more time indoors.

"If the rain occurs in the fall or winter then that will increase our pollen count in the spring because it'll increase tree pollination later on," explains Dr. Marc Cromie, an allergist in Chattanooga.

Cromie says this happened a few years ago and his waiting room filled up fast with patients exhibiting more acute symptoms.

"The sneezing, the itching...a lot of eye symptoms," adds Cromie.

Increases in low-atmosphere ozone from a combination of excessive heat and low humidity will cause more problems, too.

According to the research which studied 20 eastern U.S. cities in the southeast and northeast, our region could see an additional 17 inches of rainfall above the norm. Average temperatures could warm by four to six degrees.

This is bad news not only for allergy sufferers but also for those who like to play in the dirt. Long-time Chattanooga area Master Gardener Mike Payne says scorching temperatures and drought would surely stunt growth, especially if it occurs in May and/or June.

"If you get that hot, excessive heat that we've had in the past and you get to 100 degrees plus and get no rain for a month, that's going to create problem," says Payne.

Flooding from too many heavy rains would put a damper on your fun, too.

"It's going to create a lot of problems with plants if that water stands underneath them because we get a lot of root rot," explains Payne.

Payne says only a few flowers such as Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan's), Cone Flowers, and Monarda can stand up to extremes of both elements. And Cromie adds if you don't protect yourself, the climate could come to haunt you.

"If they're not on immunotherapy or allergy shots they will be miserable," says Cromie.

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