Indoor Air Quality Alert: New York City Flooding

What is the location of the flooding?

There is a significant flooding event in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut tri-state area on September 29, 2023 (1)(2).

Heavy rainfall has disrupted subway lines and brought dangerous flash flooding to the region.

Which cities or areas are affected by the flooding?

The following cities, towns, and regions are directly impacted by the flooding:

  • New York City, New York. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan (3). There were additional warnings issued for the Bronx and Staten Island.
  • Long Island, New York.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey. There were additional warnings for Jersey City issued by the National Weather Service.

Drivers near Terminal A at La Guardia Airport were warned against going to Terminal A, which had closed on Friday, September 29.

What is the current status of the flooding?

Thousands of New York State personnel have been deployed ahead of the storm. The heavy rainfall is expected to continue into Saturday morning, which means that flooding will continue to be a concern for the region this weekend.

Are there any evacuation orders or alerts in place?

There are flash flood warnings in effect for parts of Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and New Jersey.

Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency in response to the flooding, emphasizing the danger of the situation and preparing flood rescue teams in Nassau and Westchester counties (4). The State of Emergency is for New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority warned of major disruptions to subway service due to flooding and that customers should stay home if they don’t need to travel (5).

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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