- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Homeowners with flood damage from recent heavy rains might need to wait before making repairs or they will risk trapping moisture in wood and helping mold grow, a Purdue Extension disaster education expert said.

The first step is to remove any material touched by murky floodwaters, including insulation, wallboard, paper, carpeting, subflooring, couches and other furniture, disaster education specialist Steve Cain told the Lafayette Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/1Hir9nf ) this week.

He also suggested purchasing a moisture meter, which costs about $20 at most hardware stores, to test any wood.

“You want studs in walls to dry down to about 15 percent,” Cain said. “It’s hard enough with the humidity in Indiana. But with the rains it’s even more difficult. Just keep checking it.”

It might take weeks to reach that 15 percent benchmark, however, especially if wood has been submerged and absorbed a large amount of water, he said. Fans and dehumidifiers can help remove moisture from the air.

Another thing to keep in mind is a possible return of flooding, he said.

Indiana’s state average June rainfall of 9.03 inches set a record for the month and was the fourth-wettest of any month on record since 1895, the State Climate Office at Purdue University reported last week. A rainfall monitoring station at Rensselaer in Jasper County recorded the most rain at 18.06 inches, and two locations in adjacent Newton County had more than 17 inches.

Indiana’s rivers and streams now are full, and forecasts call for more rain, and possibly more flooding, Cain said.

“If a person wanted to be cautious … they may want to wait,” he said.


Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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