Indoor Air Quality Alert: Flooding in San Diego

What is the location of the flooding?

On Monday, January 24, heavy rains caused widespread flooding in San Diego, California (1)(2). The San Diego River, Tijuana River Valley, and low-lying coastal stretches were significantly impacted. The Mountain View neighborhood in San Diego, along with areas along the San Diego River, experienced the most severe flooding.

Which cities or areas are affected by the flooding?

The cities and areas directly affected by the flooding include San Diego and its neighborhoods, particularly Mountain View. Additionally, low-lying coastal stretches, the San Diego River, and the Tijuana River Valley have experienced substantial impact. 

What is the current containment status of the flooding? 

Containment efforts are underway to address the flooding in San Diego. Authorities, including local, state, and federal agencies, are coordinating comprehensive responses to control the floodwaters and mitigate the impact. The situation is actively being monitored, with ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of residents. 

Are there any evacuation orders or alerts in place?

In response to the flooding, evacuation orders have been issued in certain areas of San Diego. Mayor Todd Gloria declared a state of emergency and urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel. Evacuation centers, including those set up by the American Red Cross, have been established to assist displaced residents. Emergency alerts may be in place, and residents are advised to stay informed about the evolving situation through official channels. 

The City of Coronado also declared a State of Emergency (3).

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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