WEST MISSISSIPPI — Tunica County officials have begun inspecting flooded properties in what is the first step in a process to allow people back into their homes.
Tunica County spokesman Larry Liddell said the water receded enough today for county inspectors to check some houses in the Cutoff community to see if they are structurally sound. That will take three or four days.
Liddell said “no owners of the property can go over there are this time.”
The county inspectors are looking for structural damage from the outside. If a home is structurally safe, the homeowner can schedule a visit next week with an inspector for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Once MEMA signs off, Liddell said, “the homeowner can do whatever they chose.”
In a related item, authorities have re-opened some Mississippi River levee crossings in DeSoto, Tunica and Coahoma counties.
The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board said in a news release that seven crossings were to open today at noon with some conditions. The levees will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Motorists can park on the protected side of the levee at each crossing. No parking will be permitted on the river side of the levee.
The crossings are: Toppers Landing, Ward Lake, Farrell Crossing, Miller Point, Duck Lake, Seabrook Crossing and Tunica Cutoff.
Finally, the Coast Guard may partially reopen a nine-mile segment of the Mississippi River to barge traffic as it reviews a plan to remove three barges that sank in the waterway in Baton Rouge last week.
Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann said the Coast Guard expects to allow northbound traffic on the river to resume sometime today. Southbound barges would be allowed to travel down the river once the northbound backup is cleared.
Archer Daniels Midland Co., which owns the barges involved in last Friday’s accident, has submitted a plan for salvaging the wreckage. They were part of a 20-barge tow that was being pushed downriver amid high water and fast currents that have made navigation difficult. One of the barges struck a dock. Two struck a bridge.