Indoor Air Quality Alert: Tropical Storm Beryl, Texas

What is the location of the flooding?

On July 8, 2024, Hurricane Beryl, a category 1 hurricane, made landfall in southeast Texas. By landfall it had been recategorized as Tropical Storm Beryl (1).

According to the National Weather Service, Beryl is accompanied by 50 mph to 70 mph winds, torrential rain, power outages, coastal flooding, storm surges, and the possibility of tornadoes (2). The tropical storm has already affected the Caribbean and parts of Mexico (3).

Flooding is occurring in southeast Texas, primarily affecting coastal regions and areas inland, including Houston and surrounding suburbs. 1.5 million homes and businesses are without power.

Which cities or areas are affected by the flooding?

Flooding is primarily occurring in southeast Texas coastal areas, including Bolivar Peninsula, Brazoria Islands, and Galveston Island.

Cities and areas directly impacted by the flooding include:

Heavy rain could cause flooding and impact residents in northern Texas, coastal Louisiana, eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, western Kentucky, and southern Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

What is the current containment status of the flooding?

Containment efforts are ongoing. First responders are actively rescuing stranded residents, and utility crews are waiting for winds to die down before restoring power.

Flood warnings remain in effect, and the storm is expected to continue causing significant rainfall and flooding as it moves inland. The situation is being closely monitored, but full containment and mitigation are still in progress.

Are there any evacuation orders or alerts in place?

Yes, evacuation orders and emergency alerts have been issued for several areas.

Coastal residents were advised to evacuate before the storm's landfall. Numerous Hurricane Warnings, Storm Surge Warnings, and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the Texas Gulf Coast. A Tornado Watch is also in place for the region.

Residents are urged to follow the advice of local officials and stay informed through updates from emergency services.

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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