SOUTH BEND -

How can we forget?

The Polar Vortex dumped well over 100 inches of snow on us this past winter and kept it around for months.

When it comes to you allergies, the vortex might still be here.

As harsh as the winter was this season, the pollen season might be just as bad.

"They're calling it, as opposed to the Polar Vortex, the 'Pollen Vortex,'" said Dr. Christina Barnes of the South Bend Clinic.

Barnes says you can never predict with 100% certainty what's going to happen over a given allergy season, but all the signs are there for at least a very bad start to this season.

Her colleague, Dr. James Harris, agrees.

"I would call it a pollen explosion, because the winter has held off the pollen season, and now, it's ready to explode," Harris said.

That's exactly what Carrie Szymanowski is fearing. She's a preschool teacher in South Bend who is outside all the time with the children and is already feeling the pollen impact.

"My eyes water a lot, and I go outside with the kids at work, and it's even worse," noted Szymanowski. "I sneeze like four or five times in a row. It's bad."

Barnes says usually, most people are allergic to tree pollens, especially oak, and they come out first. After that, the most problematic pollens come from anything else that blooms and grows with grasses high on the list.

Harris says the problem now is time. We're about ready to see that pollen explosion begin any day now.

"We've seen it already," Harris said. "Some of the pollen counts are much higher than we expect this time of year, because typically, we've already had two or three weeks of pollen out there. So, I think we will see a huge burst of pollen over the next few weeks, so allergy sufferers beware."

Both doctors and other experts agree -  Even if the start of the allergy season is as bad as feared, they say the weather the rest of this spring and summer will determine what kind of allergy season we'll have the rest of the year after this initial onslaught.