Don’t Get Caught Off Guard: Conquer Hurricane Season with These Prep Tips

Its hurricane season. These powerful storms can leave a trail of destruction, and their impact goes beyond wind damage. The real enemy, lurking unseen, can be mold. Here’s some hurricane preparation tips to avoid Mold.

Why Worry About Mold After a Hurricane?

Hurricanes bring a double whammy of high winds and torrential rain. Damaged roofs, windows, and siding become entry points for water. This water intrusion, coupled with the warm, humid Florida climate, creates a perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold spores are everywhere, but given the right conditions, they can quickly colonize, posing health risks and structural damage.

NOAA National Weather Service forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center predict above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season. 

NOAA is forecasting a range of 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). Forecasters have a 70% confidence in these ranges.

The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have above-normal activity due to a confluence of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Nina conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation.

Before the Storm: Mold Prevention Strategies

The key to preventing post-hurricane mold growth is proactive preparation. Here’s what you can do:

  • Minimize Moisture: Inspect your roof for loose or missing shingles and repair them. Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage. Address any existing leaks in pipes, faucets, or appliances.
  • Improve Ventilation: Ensure proper attic ventilation to prevent moisture buildup. Consider installing bathroom exhaust fans if not already present.
  • Declutter: Remove unnecessary items from your crawlspace and basement to improve airflow and prevent mold growth on stored belongings.
  • Invest in a Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier can be a valuable tool, especially in Florida’s humid climate. Aim to keep indoor humidity levels below 60%.
  • Identify Existing Mold: Look for signs of existing mold growth, such as visible discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors, or a musty odor. Address any current mold issues before a hurricane strikes, as they can worsen significantly after water intrusion.

Hurricane Prep: Protecting Your Home from Water Damage

While preventing mold growth is crucial, taking steps to minimize water damage during the hurricane is equally important. Here’s your hurricane prep checklist:

  • Board Up Windows and Doors: Use plywood or hurricane shutters to protect windows and doors from windblown debris.
  • Bring in Outdoor Furniture: Secure or bring in outdoor furniture, decorations, and grills to prevent them from becoming projectiles during the storm.
  • Fill Sandbags: Sandbags can help protect doorways and low-lying areas from flooding, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.

After the Storm: Addressing Water Damage and Mold

Once the storm passes, it’s time to assess the damage and take action to prevent mold growth.

  • Safety First: Before entering your home, ensure it’s structurally sound and there are no downed power lines or gas leaks.
  • Document Everything: Take photos and videos of any water damage and storm-related damage. This will be crucial for insurance claims.
  • Open Up Your Home: Open windows and doors to promote ventilation and drying. Use fans to circulate air further.
  • Remove Standing Water: Extract any standing water using pumps or wet vacs. The faster you remove water, the less chance mold has to grow.
  • Salvage Wet Materials: Salvaged carpets, furniture, and drywall should be dried completely within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

When to Call a Professional

If you suspect widespread mold growth or are unsure how to proceed with drying your home, don’t hesitate to call in a professional mold remediation company. They have the expertise and equipment to safely and effectively remove mold and prevent further damage. Contact Bio Pro for an inspection after water intrusion to get scope of damage. 

Hurricanes are a fact of life in Florida, but with proper preparation, you can minimize the damage and prevent the secondary threat of mold growth. By taking proactive steps before the storm and acting swiftly after, you can ensure your home remains safe and healthy for you and your family. Remember, a little prevention goes a long way in weathering the storm – both literally and figuratively. Follow Bio Pro for more tips on hurricane preparation to avoid mold.

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