Mold spores begin to bloom 24 to 48 hours after contact with humidity, water, warmth, and darkness — four of the only items in abundance after a storm has turned South Florida into a giant powerless petri dish.
Image: Mold grows on the interior walls of a hurricane devastated home in suburban Lantana in 2007. (Lannis Waters / Palm Beach Post)
Without air conditioning because the power is out, your home interior starts to grow mold within a day.
Mold ruins walls, ceilings, carpets and clothing. It makes our houses smell and can cause major health problems. If your roof leaks during a hurricane, expect mold to move in shortly afterward, say experts.
When the power was out for up to three weeks in parts of the Town of Palm Beach after Hurricane Wilma, Jerry Frank went home to his condo and found mold on all his leather furniture, belts, shoes, and behind the wall board (drywall). It also loves to grow behind wallpaper.
"It took months to clean the mold up and was very expensive." said Mr. Frank. "And the only way to stop it from starting to grow is to keep the power on so the air conditioning continues to run."
That's the hidden danger to powerlines being overhead - to be blown around in the strong winds of a storm. As trees and flying objects hit the lines, the power goes out.
And if the storm knocks the poles down, it will be weeks before the power is restored. Moisture will fester in stifling hot homes and condos without air conditioning.
Mold will be your new roomate as your home is destroyed from within.
What Can You Do About It?
The best defense against mold is to keep the power on, keep your air conditioning on, and overhead powerlines are the weakest link in a storm. Underground powerlines are the strongest and most reliable way to keep power on.
This Tuesday, March 15, please vote for Undergrounding our utilities and modern, hi-technology infrastructure. This 21st century power grid will safeguard our community and your home - and the cost? So little for the benefits for you.