Learn How Mold Growth Can Lead To Dangerous Property Conditions

Mold is a type of fungi which plays an important role in the cycle of birth, development, death, and decomposition of all living matter. Mold can occur at any place. It consists of microscopic spores which can be carried by all types of damp things, plants, and the wind. The spores are responsible for the spread of mold. Some types of molds have mycotoxins, i.e., materials that are considered poisonous.

Even though only a particular section of animal-life is vulnerable to all mycotoxins, certain kinds of black molds belonging to the aflatoxin, tricothecene, and ochratoxin families can pose increased health hazards for humans. Their adverse effects range from mild allergies to even fatalities. The growth of such molds near human dwellings or places of congregation can lead to respiratory or pulmonary infections, and also pose risks to their mental and physical well-being.

Molds can become airborne with the slightest of breezes. This has guaranteed their survival for thousands of years.
Features of mold growth

Carbon is required by mold spores as nourishment to be able to develop into mold. All life on this planet is carbon-based and thus there is no shortage of food for mold. They can grow anywhere and everywhere, including animal food as well as compost mounds. Mold, particularly black mold, has survived through the years mainly due to its ability to nourish and reproduce spores.

The outer edges of mold consists of hair-like projections known as hyphae. The hyphae consist of microscopic cells and are vital to the absorption and digestion of nutrients by the main mold. The spores grow in the outer sections of hyphae and get released into the environment after they mature. Just like all seeds, spores can stay alive as long as the conditions are favorable for their growth. In the meantime, the parent mold keeps on growing and making more spores. This is possible even in an environment that is hostile to its development such as acidic matter, toxic petroleum oil, etc.

Optimal growth conditions for mold

When spores come across favorable conditions, they develop into new hyphae cells and start colonies of mold. Room temperature is optimal for their growth. Carbon is abundantly present in plants; hence, lumber, wallboard, and other cellulose-containing substances are ideal for mold growth. All they require is moisture or sufficient humidity to start growing.

The bathroom and basement, standing water, dryers, clothes washers, dishwashers, and other places with moisture content can facilitate the development of a new mold colony. After the spores have found the right spot that is hospitable, they commence their growth, dig into the surface, expand, and create new spores.

All items that have carbon as a component, including rotting substances and plants, apparels, wood paneling, different types of food, firewood, and carpets can harbor mold spores. Even human tissue is not immune from the attack of mold spores. Mold can also grow under bright light conditions if sufficient water and food are available. By the time black mold begins producing spores, it has already caused substantial damage to the affected area. Such moldy areas are quite difficult to clean and require professional mold remediation services.

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What Was The Worst Hurricane To Hit Florida

Florida is a veritable magnet for hurricanes. This is the result of the fact that it is near the tropics and westerly winds blow off the African coasts along the equator.
Of all recorded hurricanes to hit the US since 1851, 36% have made landfall in Florida.

While longtime Florida residents will debate the question of which was the worst hurricane to hit Florida, most would agree that Andrew is a top contender. Although experts are usually able to track storms for days and even weeks, predicting its landfall well ahead of the event, this storm was different. It intensified so quickly and its patch was so unpredictable that South Florida had only about 20 hours before it made landfall.

Making landfall in 1992 with winds topping 160 mph, Hurricane Andrew slammed into South Florida and, directly or indirectly, killed 65 people according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

By the time Andrew was done, it had become the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. Andrew alone managed to cause more property damage than Agnes, Betsy and Hugo combined. Twenty-three died as a result of Andrew’s fury.

Andrew was considered small by hurricane standards but it was ferocious. Before making landfall in Dade County Florida, the hurricane began by ripping through the Bahamas with 150 mph winds devastating the islands and killing three people. By the next day, Andrew had arrived in Dade Country. It cut a devastating path of destruction, flattening houses, toppling palm trees, and leaving thousands of residents homeless and forcing them to evacuate.

Andrew single-handedly destroyed 80 percent of the taxable real estate in Florida City, FL.

Andrew was a category 4 hurricane with a central pressure of 922 millibars. To put this in perspective, it is the third lowest measurement for a hurricane hitting the United States.

10 years later, the National Hurricane Center took another look at Andrew and upgraded the system to a Category 5.

By the time it had moved out into the Gulf, Andrew had killed 15 people in Dade County alone and left an estimated 250,000 people homeless.

After blazing through Miami-Dade County, Andrew quickly moved out into the Gulf and proceeded to hit a sparsely populated section of the south-central Louisiana Gulf Coast west of New Orleans.

Areas that were not directly hit by the hurricane were terrorized by dozens of tornadoes spun off by Andrew.

Because of its shocking destruction, South Florida upgraded its building codes, and those became the toughest in the state. Andrew is looked upon by emergency managers as a prime example of why residents need to be prepared for any tropical system moving into their area.

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Safeguard Your Property during The Hurricane Season

There is no point in cribbing and rushing to salvage what can be salvaged during a hurricane; there is a high chance that you may be fighting against nature and admitting defeat. Preparation is the key here to save your house and office from damage. For instance, if your house is in a hurricane prone area, there is a chance that your windows and doors may take a hit. This means you need to protect them from damage, but if you procrastinate and try to find help when the hurricane is about to start, you may well, be too late.

Though some people go for taping the windows, they really do not help much. What use is a tapping when an object from outside flying at the wind speed of 111 miles per hour can easily break through the windows and come in? The tape can however, keep the glasses from the window flying around the room but there is no guarantee that the window will not be broken. Rather than taping, it is better to invest in metal shutters or tough plywood. You have to install them in advance and also bear in mind that the plywood is strong and compacted enough to be firmly attached to the windows.

Experts say that one must use 3/5 inch plywood and drilling holes 18 inches apart around the window. This is something that is best done in advance. The other ways to protect is to use impact resistant glass or such sturdy material that have passed the toughest standard tests.

The windows, if you have them in your house, need to be really protected. If the wind is able to break them into pieces, they will not fly inside the house but also the wind may exert pressure on the roof, causing it to fly. This can make the walls give in and the house may become history. This is the reason why one has to take adequate measure of protection and preventative measures to see that such kind of damage does not take place. Here are some tips to follow:
• Remove dried, decayed tree branches, wood etc; around your property.
• If your house is strong and you live outside a storm surge zone you may talk to the authorities whether it is possible for you to go to stay in the house or evacuate to a safer zone.
• If your home is in a storm surge zone, you have to evacuate, there is no other way. If you have to evacuate, you have to keep a hurricane preparation kit which includes foods, provisions, water, important papers, insurance policies, medicines etc. Make sure that you evacuate early in the morning or so when there is less traffic jam. Also prepare a plan as to how you would meet your family member at a particular place. Also keep a good battery powered radio to listen to weather forecasts on a regular basis.

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