Nine people died and 8,500 more recently were hospitalized with severe asthma in Australia in a single week of thunderstorms. Said storms occurred during the peak of rye grass pollen season. The rain caused the pollen to become saturated, and the electrical discharges caused fragmentation of the pollen grains into tiny particles. More typically, pollen grains are filtered out by the nose/sinus area, leading to hay fever symptoms. But tiny fragments created by the storms were able to slip right through the upper airways, landing in the lungs, precipitating sudden, severe allergic asthma. In addition, many of the victims had no prior history of asthma, just allergic hay fever.