Boston's Morning Newsletter
Yes, your allergies are worse this year — and climate change is partly to blame
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Or should I say brrr! It’s so chilly this morning you may be seeing frost (and if so, the National Weather Service wants to hear about it for its map). Don’t worry: temps will get up to the mid-60s this afternoon.
But there may be a bright yellow something keeping you indoors…
If you’re sneezing, have itchy eyes and been clutching tissues, you’re not alone. Allergies are rough this year and climate change is one of the main reasons why.
- How bad are we talking? Dr. Aleena Banerji, the clinical director of Allergy and Immunology at Mass General Hospital, told WBUR’s Jacob Garcia that allergy season is a whopping 20-30 days longer now than it was in previous decades. “The season is starting earlier,” Banerji said. “It’s lasting longer and we’re actually seeing higher pollen counts in the spring season. So, I think all of those factors together is really why we’re seeing that the pollen and symptoms are worse.”
- More from NPR: Recent research suggests rising temperatures will also cause some plants, such as oak and cedar trees, to release more pollen overall. And in the fall, weeds and grasses could keep releasing pollen up to 19 days later.
- From a health perspective, about 30% of the world’s population suffer from pollen-related allergies. A higher pollen count for longer means higher rates of allergy attacks and asthma, so please be safe out there. For tips on how to mitigate your allergy symptoms, listen to this helpful 2022 Radio Boston segment (yes, it’s talking about fall allergies, but the suggestions are still relevant).
- Some good news: Banerji says tree pollen should taper off in June.
- Some bad news: Banerji also says the wind down of spring tree pollen will come just in time for grass pollen season.
A little breathing room? As Boston scrambles to re-do its redistricting maps, Boston City Council voted yesterday to give candidates in upcoming elections a little extra time to file to run.
- The City Council voted to push back the filing deadline from the end of May to the end of June. But the change is not official yet. Now, it’s headed to state lawmakers to sign off on the move.
- Why are they doing this again? Earlier this month, a federal judge threw out the city’s previously approved district map, writing that councilors may have considered race too heavily in drawing districts. Now it’s back to the drawing board, but in the meantime candidates running in upcoming elections for those contested neighborhoods — mainly in Dorchester — are in a tough spot.
Those brushfires in Lynn were not an accident, according to the city’s fire marshal. Investigators say at least eight fires were set intentionally in the last week. Because of recent dry and high winds, they burned more than 400 acres of land near the Lynn Woods.
- PSA: With increased fire conditions, remember to continue to avoid outdoor burning and be super careful handling matches and cigarettes outdoors.
Bridging the cost gap? Gov. Maura Healey said the state is now willing to spend up to $700 million to replace the Sagamore and Bourne Cape Cod bridges. But that’s not anywhere near the full price tag — and the state needs help from the feds to make up the difference.
- In January, the feds rejected a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant application looking for $1.88 billion in order to replace the two bridges. This came a few months after Washington had already turned down another application requesting more than $1 billion in funds.
- So … is that it? Not yet. State officials are still chatting with the feds to see if they can find a way forward.
P.S.— Taylor Swift fans are already swarming Gillette Stadium for merchandise this morning and there is a safety press conference later today all about the pop star’s three weekend performances as part of her Eras tour. To avoid having bad blood with fans, stay clear of Foxborough this weekend as there will likely be a ton of traffic. (And can some lucky one who got tickets grab me a T-shirt? #swiftie4life)