By Brian New

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ALLEN (CBSDFW.COM) – This year’s flu season is expected to be at its worst in North Texas during the final two weeks of December.

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Infectious disease experts at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have figured out a way to forecast the flu.

According to its model, the height of the flu season in Dallas and Fort Worth will be the week of December 14th – 20th. The peak week for Plano and Irving is predicted for December 21st – 27th.

Because the new flu model uses real-time data, forecasts can evolve over time. Check out the latest flu forecast here.

Unlike most flu models that look backwards, this new model uses = a mathematical formula to look forward much like a meteorologist forecasts the weather

“It seems to be fairly accurate to what we are seeing here in the clinic,” said Dr. Kara Starnes at the Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care clinic in Allen.

“I think it’s helpful,” the doctor said. “It helps us in staffing and it helps us order plenty of supplies”

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Stacy Gonzales brought her son, Nick, into the Allen clinic on Sunday because she said she was concerned about the flu.

She said the new flu forecast website provides a useful warning for parents.

“That way you can help prepare and take any necessary precautions,” she explained.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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