By Talbert Toole
As Tropical Depression Barry makes its way through the Mid-South, it brings in its wake hazardous weather and conditions to the LOU area.
Lafayette County Emergency Management issued a flash flood watch for the area until Tuesday.
In addition to the watch, the National Weather Service released a statement that said Barry is expected to produce additional rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches across Arkansas, western Tennessee and Kentucky, Southeast Missouri, and northwest Mississippi.
Short-lived tornadoes may form from thunderstorms embedded in tropical rain bands, according to the NWS. The tornado risk will greatest from late morning through early evening.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) also issued food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by what has now been dubbed as a “tropical depression.”
Plan Ahead If You Can
If possible, raise refrigerators and freezers off the floor, putting cement blocks under their corners. Move canned goods and other foods that are kept in the basement or low cabinets to a higher area.
Food Safety After a Flood
Use bottled drinking water that has not come in contact with flood water. Do not eat any food that may have come in contact with flood water. Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance it may have come in contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps.
Also discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood waters. They cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Inspect canned foods; discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers that may have come in contact with flood waters. There is no way to safely clean them.
Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, utensils (including can openers) with soap and water (hot water if available). Rinse and sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water (hot water if available). Rinse and then sanitize them by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water. Allow to air-dry.
Note: If your refrigerator or freezer was submerged by floodwaters — even partially — it is unsafe to use and must be discarded.
The city of Oxford is also advising residents of the area to register with the community advisory program.
There are several simple ways to register:
1. Text 38655 to 888777 from your mobile phone
2. Go to oxfordms.net and sign up via the Nixle Widget
The implementation of the Nixle system will allow Oxford residents to remain up-to-date on community alerts affecting our area. Residents will be able to customize their settings so that they may opt-in or opt-out on topics that are relevant to them.
The system will be used to notify users of severe weather conditions, game-day traffic alerts, road closures, boil water notices, and community notifications for events such as the Double Decker Festival.
The service is free and secure.
All alerts will be targeted geographically, allowing residents to receive localized, relevant alerts from the city of Oxford. Nixle Alerts can be sent via text, email, web and the Nixle mobile app in an instant.
For more information on Tropical Depression Barry, visit the National Weather Service.