This cold front brought in high winds and dropped temperatures at least 40 degrees in two days.

Darla Horner Menking | Herald

The wind was really impressive as the cold front blew in. I went out to watch it and got some awesome pictures of the cloud bank.

This past week, it warmed up into the 70s and 80s. With this temperature climb came winds, strong winds. But this time they came not from the north, but from the southeast, I believe. And it happened right at Christmas. Sometimes we forget we live in Central Texas where huge fluctuations in temperatures can be quite common. So many want this area to look like a cold and snowy Christmas card, only setting them up for disappointment when they can wear shorts and a T-shirt to return unwanted Christmas presents.

Me? I love warm weather. I would never pick cold weather over hot. Maybe it’s because I’m a native Texan and have gotten used to heat as the norm. I love my boots and sweaters, but I’ll hang them up any day for capris and a lightweight shirt. Snow is beautiful to see, but I had to live for a few years where it snowed, and I’d rather be in Central Texas than anywhere else.

As I mentioned, there are ups and downs to this type of weather, beyond the temperatures. With air masses coming and going, wind is produced. And where there is wind, there are allergens. Anyone else have family members suffering from allergies this past week? No matter the direction of the wind, things blow in with it, whether it’s pollen, spores from leaves, dust from the land, grasses, smoke, mold, dust from your home’s heater/furnace/fireplace being started for the first time this season, opening our windows to let in “fresh?” air, and so on.

Even just the temperatures themselves can set off reactions, such as headaches, migraines and asthma. Then there’s humidity and rainfall that can, after temporarily lowering air pollens, actually activate allergens by stimulating trees and shrubs to produce growth, hence, more pollen.

Because weather fluctuations affect people on a global level, there is help out there, if you know where to look. I found out you can receive a pollen forecast for your location on your cellphone or computer. Go to www.pollen.com, and enter your ZIP code to sign up for updates and forecasts. While this won’t actually change anything, it could help you prepare by suggesting preventive medications so your reactions won’t be quite as severe.

I also found a pollen index level chart, which gives a heads up as to what specific allergens and levels are expected. This week’s chart showed medium-high to high levels for the last five days; today’s actually being the highest since Tuesday.

So as I’ve indicated, cold, heat, humidity, rainfall and wind all may contribute to the complications that accompany weather temperature fluctuations. I hope all of the allergy sufferers out there will take the time to look up websites that can make these times easier for you. And I wish all of my readers a very safe, healthy and happy new year.

Darla Horner Menking is an outdoor enthusiast and Herald correspondent. Contact her at darla.menking@gmail.com.

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