D.C. weather warm-up: Pros and cons

Cherry blossoms begin to bloom. (Photo: Suzanne Kennedy)

A mild winter and an early onset of spring has allergy season blooming early this year. Experts say the effects are being felt six to eight weeks prematurely.

The warmer than usual temperatures across the D.C. region could be good and bad news for residents in the area.

March is already following a trend that people have experienced all winter-long -{ }marking one of the warmest on record.{ }

Experts say the May-like temperatures this week can be linked to arctic oscillation, which is when frigid air near the North Pole keeps a cold jet stream way up North, causing temperatures to rise in our area.

As a result, Americans will spend less to heat their homes for the first time in a decade. Compared this time last year, customers will save about{ }13 percent on their natural gas bills.

Doug Marshall, 49, has had allergies his whole life. He's noticing symptoms far sooner than normal.

“Look outside - everything is in bloom and coming up out of the ground,” Marshall says. “You don't usually start to feel anything until probably the end of summer.”

Tree pollen is what is being felt now. the increase in temperatures has the flowering and pollination starting early. allergists predict an extremely bad season.

“We have seen patients coming to see us with itchy eyes, watery eyes, stuffy nose, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and this is something very unusual because we do not see that this time of the year,” says allergist Talal Nsouli.

Horticulturists expect this week's 70 degree weather is likely to have an impact on the cherry blossoms as well. The National Park Service has said peak bloom time would be around March 24 - March 28th. But the unseasonable temperatures have some buds popping already.

“Our model is based on averages and the warm weather we're getting now is kicking those average temperatures up ahead so every day we're moving things closer and closer to bloom,” says Chris Walsh, professor of horticulture at University of Maryland.

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