Cedar pollen primed for dramatic jump

Change in weather conditions could lead to allergy problems

Cedar pollen blowing off of trees in Central Texas, Jan. 2014 (credit: Stan Orth)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Following more than a full week of cold and damp conditions across Central Texas, cedar pollen is poised to increase dramatically with the return of sunshine Thursday and Friday. Central Texas is currently in the peak of our annual cedar season, but recent light rainfall is acting to remove some of the airborne pollen and deposit it into the ground.

Your First Warning Forecast predicts the return of abundant sunshine Thursday through the coming weekend — a change in the weather that may be welcome for some, but has dire consequences for allergy sufferers.

The worst cedar pollen counts often come when it’s sunny and windy, such as behind a winter cold front. These conditions led to a cedar count of 21,400 in Austin on Jan. 15, 2014 — the second-highest of all-time. But allergy experts say that sunshine can induce pollination of cedar trees, even with the relatively calm winds forecast on Thursday.

Cedar pollen is meant to go airborne from the trees, as pollen from male cones often travels several miles on the breeze in an attempt to find a female cone. Pollen from cedar trees on the ground has been observed as high as 30,000 feet in the atmosphere.

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