Indoor Air Quality Alert: Ohio River Flooding

What is the location of the flooding?

Heavy rains may impact indoor air quality across multiple counties along the Ohio River on April 2 and 3, 2024. There are road closures and flood waters affecting homes and businesses from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh (1)(2).

Torrential rainfall led to flood watches and flood advisories being issued by the National Weather Service for several East Coast states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia (3).

Which cities or areas are affected by the flooding?

 Areas affected by flooding include:

  • Pittsburgh and its suburbs in Pennsylvania
  • Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
  • Various counties and towns in West Virginia, including Moundsville, Piedmont, and Glenn Robbins
  • Belmont County, Harrison County, Jefferson County, Hancock County, and Marshall County in Ohio

Flooding continued into Thursday and more cities were impacted by heavy rains, including:

What is the current containment status of the flooding?

There are numerous ongoing road closures, rising water levels, and areas experiencing flooding across multiple states (4) (5). Authorities and emergency responders are actively monitoring the situation and working to manage the floodwaters.

Are there any evacuation orders or alerts in place?

Residents should use caution and avoid flooded roads. Local law enforcement agencies and weather services may issue evacuation orders or alerts if necessary to ensure public safety.

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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