What Is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that naturally occurs in the environment, but nobody wants this pesky fungus in their home, as it can wreak havoc on many different surfaces. The key to mold control is moisture control. If you find that there is a mold issue in your home, you should clean the mold promptly or call a professional mold remediation company that can do it for you. You also need to fix the water problem, because that is what causes the mold. It is also important to dry out any areas that have been damaged by water within 24-48 hours to prevent any kind of mold growth.

This fungus can come in many colors, such as black, white, and sometimes even green. They are a part of the environment, and outdoors, they play a part in the ecosystem by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. But inside, mold growth should definitely be avoided. The way that mold reproduces is by means of mold spores, which are invisible to the naked eye and float throughout the outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin to grow indoor when these spores land on a porous material that maintains constant moisture. There are plenty of different strains of mold, and none of them can begin to grow without a source of water or moisture.

Unfortunately, mold does have the potential to cause significant or minor health problems. This fungus produces allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxic substances. An allergic response to mold can include anything from itchy eyes or runny noses, to fever type symptoms. They are also very common, and one can show immediate or delayed symptoms.

Mold will gradually destroy the items that they begin to grow on. You can prevent this from happening in your home by controlling the moisture and therefore eliminating the mold growth altogether. It is almost impossible to rid your home of all mold and mold spores, because many will be found floating through the air and can attach themselves to dust particles. But, these spores will not grow and thrive if moisture is not present in the air or on a surface in your home. If there is a possibility that you have mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water issue accordingly and quickly. If you remove the mold but do not take care of the moisture or water damage problem, the mold will indefinitely come back with a vengeance.

For each instance, the cleanup depends on a couple of different factors. One of these factors is the size of the mold infestation. If the area is less than 10 ft, in most cases you can handle the issue yourself. If it is any larger than that, you should call a professional to provide you with an IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) test. If you do decide to tackle the mold issue on your own, be sure to follow specific safety protocol and guidelines to ensure the safety of yourself and the inhabitants of the property.

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Hurricane Development More Likely Into September As Wave Pattern Changes

Reports by the leading US forecasting team from Colorado State University predicted that the US hurricane seasons will see above-average activity this year, but also stated that the cooler ocean waters will make it difficult to for storms to develop.

In June, the team predicted nine hurricanes this season. Last week however, they lowered their forecast from nine hurricanes to eight. Three hurricanes are predicted to become major hurricanes. Furthermore, they lowered their previous forecast on the probability for a major hurricane to make landfall in the US coastline from 72% to 64%.

According to the CSU team, an average season will see 12 tropical storms. Six of them are hurricanes, including three major hurricanes in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. This year four tropical storms have formed so far, but not one has strengthened into a hurricane as reported by the National Hurricane Center.

Comparing Last Year’s Hurricane Season

If we look back to last year’s hurricane season, 19 tropical storms were recorded and 10 of them strengthened to become hurricanes. Two became major hurricanes, one of which is Superstorm Sandy – the hurricane that cost the lives of 200 and cost the United States more than $50 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.

Phil Klotzbach of CSU explains that despite the fact that the tropical Atlantic remains warmer than average, the eastern portion on the other hand has cooled. But he further explains that there is a low probability for El Nino this summer and fall. El Nino is identified as the warming of the tropical Pacific. When there is El Nino, hurricane formations in the Atlantic are deterred because of the shearing winds that El Nino brings.

CCU Teams Forecasts 2 Hurricane Landfalls

On the other hand, scientists from the Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C. released another forecast, specifying the specific number of hurricane landfalls in the US. According to Len Pietrafesa of the CCU team, the nation will see two hurricanes this season. One will hit in the East Coast and the other somewhere in the Gulf Coast. The forecast however, does not state exactly where it will hit and when. But if we look at past weather reports dating back to 1950, hurricanes hit the East Coast and the Gulf Coast once a year.

The team used a new computer model, known as the HUGO (Hurricane Genesis and Outlook) project for this forecast. Pietrafesa explains that the system works by using the current oceanic and atmospheric conditions and taking into account the recorded hurricane history. The objective is to find a year with similar weather conditions compared to the current weather conditions and use it to predict the number of hurricanes that will make landfall in the season.
However, the CCU team admits that predicting the number of hurricane landfalls is difficult compared to predicting the activity of hurricanes. Either way, the HUGO model can help emergency management officials in their preparations in the event that evacuation is necessary as it is said to provide data on a likely storm surge as well as inundation once a hurricane approaches.

You can rely on the Flood Pros for help with property damage, emergency cleanup and flood damage restoration to Orlando and all of Florida.

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Does the Insurance Industry Require Special Coverage for Hurricanes?

Estimated loss is a major component of how insurance rates for U.S. homeowners are calculated. Along with estimating losses from relatively common causes, insurers also calculate the likelihood of perils inherent to particular geographic areas. The Pacific coast is prone to earthquakes and mudslides; in the Midwest, tornadoes are a hazard. In Florida, the most catastrophic damage comes from hurricanes.

Hurricanes hold an assortment of destructive forces: sustained wind that can range from 74 to more than 150 mph, torrential rain, coastal wave surge, flooding and peripheral tornadic action. There is no special comprehensive coverage for hurricane damage. Instead, insurance companies offer policies that cover various components separately.

Flood insurance is the only component mandated by law, not by the state or the insurance industry, but by the federal government. The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 and the Federal Disaster Act of 1973 specify that homeowners in the highest-risk flood zones must carry flood insurance if they have a federally-backed mortgage. Residents of communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can obtain insurance through the NFIP that covers damage to buildings and contents, whether the property is owned or rented. Coverage is available from private insurers for property owners in non-participating communities.

While homeowners’ insurance generally covers some natural hazards, in areas of high risk it usually excludes items like water damage and wind damage. If so, then interior damage caused by leaks from broken plumbing, or having a ceiling collapse after a neighbor’s tree lands on the roof would not be covered. Separate coverage is needed for such events.

The amount of coverage required is set by the mortgage lenders. The sum of the mortgage is somewhat irrelevant; lenders typically require enough insurance to cover either the actual cash value or the full replacement cost of the dwelling. Actual cash value allows depreciation for the age and condition of the property –a damage claim to replace a 15-year-old roof would pay less than if the roof were newly-shingled. Full replacement cost is based on the estimated price of total reconstruction with new materials, and includes an amount for demolition and disposal of debris if the structure is deemed damaged beyond repair. Actual cash value gradually decreases because of depreciation. Full replacement cost gradually increases due to inflation or improvements.

Most insurance companies will not issue a homeowner’s policy unless it covers at least 80 percent of the replacement cost. Homeowners in high risk areas should review their coverage carefully. The worst time to discover policy exclusions is after a hurricane hits.

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The Most Catastrophic Hurricanes in History

Hurricanes by the strength of their high wind speed, causes maximum havoc to life and property damage. Another powerful manifestation in the heavy flooding that occurs from the oceanic storm surge and the torrential rain that causes many people to die from drowning and washes away billion worth of property.
The Saffir Simpson scale has classified hurricanes based on their intensity into five categories. Though the first two categories are mild and moderate, respectively; the category 3 is extensive, with the fourth one being extreme while the fifth category is catastrophic.

There have been three Category 5 storms since data keeping came into effect. The first one is the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 which damaged a fair part of Florida Keys and resulted in 600 deaths. The second one happened in 1969 in the form of Hurricane Camille, that devastated the Mississippi Coast killing 257 people. The Andrew Hurricane in 1992 also impacted South Florida adversely. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is a memory still afresh among people. Mitch in 1998 and Gilbert in 1988 were also destructive.

The most dangerous hurricane in the US was Galveston storm back in 1900 which killed between 9000 and 12000 people, wiping out the city in the process. Economically speaking, Hurricane Katrina is the worst for the US, with losses running into billions of dollars. It devastated Louisiana and south-west Mississippi and flooded New Orleans, resulting in the killing of 1, 2000 people while thousands of others were rendered homeless. There have been other hurricanes too like Hugo (1989) in South Carolina. Opal (1995) and Rita (2005) in Louisiana and Texas that have causes losses to the tune of billions of dollars.

Tropical storms have caused a lot of damage outside US too. For instance, the tropical cyclone in Bay of Bengal in 1970 killed 3,00,000 people in Bangladesh while more than 1,28,000 people died due to cyclone in Myanmar in the Andaman Seas in 2008.
The hurricanes have winds that can topple strong vehicles in a matter of seconds, pull down trees, bring down buildings and destroy virtually anything that comes in their trajectory. The winds push a water wall called storm surge and if this happens during a high tide, this can lead to significant amount of inland flooding, which means all the homes and offices around the coastal area can be impacted.
Since tropical storms and hurricanes are natural disasters, we can only be better prepared so that we are not caught unawares. These come in the form of hurricane watches and warnings that are given with better systems and technology like real –time satellite imagery. For instance, a hurricane watch is given when there is a chance of hurricane conditions developing within 24 to 36 hours. A hurricane warning is given when the hurricane wind is blowing at a speed of 74 miles per hour and is expected to hit the area within 24 hours. It is thus better to be better prepared and take actions for safe evacuation if you are living in an area that is prone to hurricane damage.

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