AUSTIN (KXAN) — The harsh weather we had in 2022 will likely have an impact on how severe our cedar season will be as we move through January.

According to Karle Flocke, a Woodland Ecologist with Texas A&M Forest Service, there is a benefit to the drought we had last year in Central Texas… less cedar pollen.

According to Flocke, “if we do wind up seeing lower pollen levels this winter, the most likely common denominator is going to be that severe drought of 2022.”

While cedar season can be difficult to predict, a preexisting drought does limit the production of cedar pollen.

“Very often when you do have exceptional droughts, that is a stressor on trees, and it might lead them to put their energy into a survival not necessarily into reproduction.”

Recent rain in November and early December knocked a lot of pollen out of the air, but there are factors working against us too.

Typically in a La Niña winter, you get high levels of cedar and bad cedar fever. That’s what happened the last two winters here in Central Texas and this winter is a La Niña winter as well.

“Those drier winters, hotter, windier ones, oftentimes have some of our most pollen days… heaviest pollen load days,” said Flocke. That’s because a drier and windier winter allows the pollen to stay suspended longer in the air and not washed away by the rain.

And those La Niña winters can be the most uncomfortable.

“I call it the four dwarves of allergy: itchy, runny, drippy, sneezy. Those are the classic symptoms of allergy,” said Dr. John Villacis, Allergist and Immunologist at Austin Diagnostic Clinic in Circle C.

He says the severity of cedar season also comes down to the individual.

“It’s dependent on the weather, but it also is dependent on the patient’s individual degree of sensitivity. It has to do with how much time do you spend outside. You know, do you live in an area that has a lot of mountain cedar,” Dr. Villacis added.

Just before the end of last year we saw cedar pollen enter very high levels.

January is usually the worst month for cedar pollen, before the season ends in February.