By Jeff Ray

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas has seen plenty of ice and deep freezes this winter. And yet, we are still sneezing.

It is called cedar fever, and it comes from the Edwards Plateau. The evergreen tree is actually a juniper native to the Hill Country and Mexico. Male juniper trees usually release their pollen from their cones during the first January thaw. The trees can look like they are on fire — there is so much of the stuff in the air.

A strong south wind then carries that pollen into North Texas. Allergy sufferers probably do not want to hear this, but it actually could be much worse.

North Texas saw its first high pollen count of the season (542) on Monday, and then it was still high (341) on Tuesday. But there was a northwest wind on both of those days.

Last year, we had a strong southwest wind during the height of pollen release and, on January 23, the pollen count went over 1,000. A day later, the pollen count pushed all the way to 3,844 — which was a record.

On the heels of the mountain cedar is pollen from the local red cedar. Chances are pretty good that if you suffer from mountain cedar, then red cedar will also bother you.

Allergy season starts early in Texas.

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