Usually, the counts begin in mid-March, and are posted daily on philly.com and published in The Inquirer.
"If you look at the buds on the maple trees, they appear to almost be opening," said Dvorin.
"I think we're about two to 2 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule," said Anthony Aiello, horticulturalist at the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill. He has noticed that elms and alders are well ahead of typical timetables.
At the root of the early budding was an extremely mild December-through-February period, the fourth-warmest in Philadelphia in 138 years of record-keeping.
Every year, trees release their pollen in the spring to sow the seeds for the next generation. Typically around here, the pollen season starts in March, picks up the pace in April, and ends in June.
In recent years, due to general warming, the season has been lasting a little longer and starting a little earlier, according to Dvorin. This year, much earlier.
For 25 years, he has been an official counter for the National Allergy Bureau, the branch of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology responsible for measuring pollen.
Dvorin measures it atop a building at Broad and Race Streets, using a trap that captures the grains.
The early-pollen phenomenon isn't just local. Similar early stirrings have been reported elsewhere in the country.
On the other side of Pennsylvania, a trap atop Allegheny General Hospital captured significant pollen grains last month - a first for February in the decade that pollen has been measured at that location.
Contact Anthony R. Wood at 610-761-8423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.