Early allergy season in Oklahoma? Here’s why

TULSA, Okla. — It’s far from traditional allergy season, but there is one particular pollen that could be causing us to sniffle already.

It’s cedar pollen – specifically from the Eastern Red Cedar Tree -- and if you suffer from this particular allergen, this time of year can be especially miserable.

This is an example of this invasive species, but it’s not necessarily our local trees that are the problem this time of year. Here’s why.

Eastern Cedar Trees are known to produce copious and even visible amounts of pollen that are emitted in the air this time of year to our south, specifically across the Red River in Texas where this variety of tree is more than prevalent. The associated pollen can get lofted in the air and travel hundreds of miles on a breezy day.

That means this time of year, when we get a south wind here in Oklahoma, that plume of air may be carrying billions of those pollen particles.

That’s just what we have in place today – and now that the red cedar pollen is on its way into the area, cedar allergy suffers may be in for a lot of sniffling and sneezing this time of year.

This is the first significant pollen we encounter each year with the peak cedar pollen occurring in the mid-late winter timeframe.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms can parallel those of COVID-19, but there are some distinctions. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have doubts about whether your symptoms are that of a cedar allergy or the ongoing pandemic.

Michael Grogan, FOX23 Severe Weather Team

Mike is a native Tulsan and thrilled to continue his career in Green Country here at FOX23. From tornado outbreaks to winter storms, he has forecasted it all in Tulsa since April 2011. Before that, he covered weather in the Mid-Atlantic states from Hagerstown, Maryland.