🌼 And it was alllll yellow
Source: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images
- 5 min read

🌼 And it was alllll yellow

Plus, more on the police force that our public transit operator is launching this year.


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☀️ Howdy, Austin.

If you're sensitive to allergies, go ahead and stay inside until ... checks notes ... the end of May. Today, we'll dive into how oak season is upon us, which is why there's yellow dust literally everywhere.

Then, read more about CapMetro's own police force that's launching this year. And peep where you can buy eclipse cakes (yes, that's a thing).

Why is there yellow dust everywhere?

Being destroyed by allergies is a normal part of Central Texas life. You know, right up there with dealing with I-35 traffic and braving an H-E-B on a Sunday.

And you know that weird yellow dust buildup on the hood of your car? Yeah, that's a telltale sign this is oak season in Texas and, unfortunately, it will last through May. 

Source: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Austin’s beautiful and historic live oak trees are blooming and looking to reproduce.

As you take your daily walks, you may have noticed small, caterpillar-shaped objects scattered on the ground. These are the male flowers of the oak tree, scientifically known as catkins. As the wind blows, the pollen from these catkins is carried in the air, hoping to land on the female flowers of other oak trees. Hello, reproduction.

“Oak trees are nearing peak pollen-shedding conditions and that usually happens mid-spring and will last a few weeks,” said Dr. Mike Arnold, director of the Gardens at Texas A&M University.

Yes, we've had some refreshing rain this spring that's helped fight the effects of airborne pollen. But between the rain events, when the leaves start to dry out, the oak pollen becomes more susceptible to being carried by the wind and can settle on everything in its path, including our noses. Womp womp.

Dr. Robert Butler — an ear, nose and throat specialist at Austin ENT Clinic — suggested some ways you can avoid encountering these allergens:

🌿 Avoid exposure to oak pollen by limiting your time outside on a breezy day.

🌼 Wear a mask while mowing the lawn or doing yard work.

🌱 Use air purifiers inside your house.

🌿 Use saline rinses for your sinuses every day. 

🌼 Use antihistamines and nasal steroids to suppress the allergic response.

🌱 Consider allergy testing and immunotherapy to attempt to block the body’s reaction to pollen.

It's not just your nose that'll get messy. Your car could, too.

“Because the yellow and green pollen get all over your windshield and car, people want to wash their cars every few days,” said John Borek, manager of the dinosaur-themed Jurassic Car Wash in South Austin. “So that makes April and May our busiest months of the year.” 

This type of pollen is easy to wash off your car, he said. But that’s the key: You need to wash it with soap and not wait for the rain, AKA Mother Nature’s free car wash. 

“You don’t need a high pH pre-soak soap to get this type of pollen off your car — that’s reserved for bugs, bird dropping, oils and grease,” Borek said. “You can use regular car soap and that will do the job.”

One more reason to treat yourself to a drive-thru car wash. Don't lie, you know it's fun.

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

Temperature: 83 degrees | Sun: Copious | What to Expect: Low dew points (dry air)

When you dream of perfect Austin weather, this is it. Lots of sunshine, dew point temps in the 30s, light southwest winds and afternoon high temperatures in the low 80s. Shhhhh … sneak outside for a while, just don’t tell anyone from work.

Mary’s Tip: If you haven’t yet posed with wildflowers, which sometimes can look like you’re “Pooping on Bluebonnets,” this would be a great evening to do so. Sunset is at 7:52 p.m.

Icon of a metro rail train

What should a transit police force look like?

Did you know CapMetro is getting its own police department? 

Yes, off-duty Austin Police officers regularly work for the department, but a dedicated transit police department was approved in 2021 and is expected to launch later this year.  

The deets, according to the Austin Chronicle

  • Twelve officers are expected to be hired during the first year of operations.
  • The goal is to eventually have a 50-person police department. 
  • Public safety funding will cost $9.5 million this fiscal year, which includes its roughly 25 unarmed public safety ambassadors and three community intervention specialists. 

How do you fit in? 

CapMetro is asking residents for feedback in shaping the department’s policies. They've divided the policies into 11 categories currently. The feedback period has ended for three of them — policy against bias-based policing, organizational structure and responsibility and the mission, vision, core values & law enforcement code of ethics.

But you can provide feedback until April 12 on following topics online or by attending the Program Strategies & Policies subcommittee meeting today, April 4, at 5 p.m. to share your feedback via Zoom: 

These four topics will be available for community feedback until April 25. You can also join a subcommittee meeting on April 18 to learn more or share your thoughts that way:

Tweet of the day: H-E-B has eclipse cakes

That’s right, y’all. As if H-E-B weren’t everyone’s favorite grocery store already.

Local meteorologist Avery Tomasco over at CBS Austin posted a photo online of the cakes on display Wednesday morning.

For a cool $29, you can have your 8-inch 2024 eclipse cake and eat it, too. Some have our friend, the moon, decked out in some shades.

Avery Tomasco/X

Hopefully we’ll be eating these things and celebrating a visible eclipse on Monday. But if it ends up being cloudy, at least we’ll be able to eat our feelings ...

Thanks, H-E-B. #notanad

No Harm, No Fowl

Today's clue is for 30 across: what you have to do to your willpower when you're trying not to leave the house on a sunny Austin Sunday Funday.

Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura and Mary Wasson.