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Indoor Air Quality Alert: Deep South U.S. Flooding

What is the location of the flooding?

On Friday, March 8, 2024, there were rains, storms, and flooding across much of the Southern United States. From Louisiana to North Carolina, the National Weather Service placed counties in six states on a flood watch due to severe storms with high winds and the possibility of some tornadoes (1). 

Which cities or areas are affected by the flooding?

There are several states under the watch, and others that are also being affected by storms.

Those states include:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina

There is some flooding and heavy rain in parts of Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport flooded on Thursday (2)(3). Rain is projected to impact the Florida Panhandle as well.

Are there any alerts in place? 

There are flood warnings and flood watches for much of Alabama and Georgia through Saturday. Rain will continue to affect those states, alongside parts of Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina through the weekend.

How can I protect myself from mold after flooding?

It’s important to take steps to prevent mold after a flood

  • Before entering a flooded area, make sure it is safe and free from electrical hazards or structural damage.
  • Use protective gear: wear gloves, goggles, and a KN95/FFP2 mask to minimize exposure to mold spores.
  • If there is still standing water, remove it as quickly as possible. Use pumps, wet-dry vacuums, or buckets to extract the water.
  • Open windows and doors to facilitate air circulation and use fans, dehumidifiers, and HVAC systems to help dry the space. This step is crucial within the first 24-48 hours after flooding to prevent mold growth.
  • Remove and discard any items that have been severely damaged by floodwater and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. This includes carpets, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and any other porous materials.
  • Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with a detergent or cleaner suitable for mold remediation. Use a solution of 1.5 cups of bleach mixed with one gallon of water to disinfect nonporous surfaces. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products, as the fumes are toxic.
  • Maintain an indoor relative humidity (RH) of 35-50%. High humidity promotes mold growth, so consider using dehumidifiers in damp areas.
  • Run a high-performance air purifier for mold, both during and after the mold removal work.
  • If the flooding and mold damage are extensive, consider contacting professionals specializing in mold remediation to ensure proper cleanup and restoration.

Remember, mold can pose health risks, so it's important to take these steps promptly and thoroughly. If you experience persistent mold-related health issues or have concerns about extensive mold growth, consult with a medical professional or a mold remediation specialist.

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