TTR News Center

USDA’s Five Tips for a Food Safe Thanksgiving

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WASHINGTON, November 21, 2016 – This week millions of Americans will gather family and friends around the dinner table to give thanks. But for those preparing the meal, it can be a stressful time. Not to mention, for many it is the largest meal they have cooked all year, leaving plenty of room for mistakes that could cause foodborne illness.


“Unsafe handling and undercooking of food can lead to serious foodborne illness,” said Al Almanza, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “Turkeys may contain Salmonella and Campylobacter, harmful pathogens that are only destroyed by properly preparing and cooking the turkey. Similarly, leaving leftovers out for too long, or not taking care to properly clean cooking and serving surfaces, can lead to other types of illness. We want to be sure that all consumers know the steps they can take and resources that are available to them to help prepare a safe and enjoyable holiday meal. ”


To avoid making everyone at the table sick, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) offers five tips for a food safe Thanksgiving:


Tip 1: Don’t Wash That Turkey.


According to the most recent Food Safety Survey, conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, 68 percent of the public washes whole turkey before cooking it. USDA does not recommend washing raw meat and poultry before cooking. Washing raw meat and poultry can cause bacteria to spread up to three feet away. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, frying or grilling) meat and poultry to the right temperature kills any bacteria that may be present, so washing meat and poultry is not necessary.

Tip 2: Use the refrigerator, the cold-water method or the microwave to defrost a frozen turkey.


There are three safe ways to defrost a turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave oven. Thawing food in the refrigerator is the safest method because the turkey will defrost at a consistent, safe temperature. It will take 24 hours for every 5 pounds of weight for a turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. To thaw in cold water, submerge the bird in its original wrapper in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes. For instructions on microwave defrosting, refer to your microwave’s owner’s manual. Cold water and microwave thawing can also be used if your bird did not entirely defrost in the refrigerator.


Tip 3: Use a meat thermometer.


The only way to determine if a turkey (or any meat, poultry or seafood) is cooked is to check its internal temperature with a food thermometer. A whole turkey should be checked in three locations: the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast. Your thermometer should register 165°F in all three of these places. The juices rarely run clear at this temperature, and when they do the bird is often overcooked. Using the food thermometer is the best way to ensure your turkey is cooked, but not overdone.


Tip 4: Don’t store food outside, even if it’s cold.


Storing food outside is not food safe for two reasons. The first is that animals, both wild and domesticated, can get into food stored outside, consuming it or contaminating it. The second is temperature variation. Just like your car gets warm in the summer, a plastic food storage container in the sun can heat up and climb into the danger zone (above 40°F). The best way to keep that extra Thanksgiving food at a safe temperature (below 40°F) is in a cooler with ice.


Tip 5: Leftovers are good in the refrigerator for up to four days.


Cut the turkey off the bone and refrigerate it as soon as you can, within 2 hours of the turkey coming out of the oven. Leftovers will last for four days in the refrigerator, so if you know you won’t use them right away, pack them into freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze. For best quality, use your leftover turkey within four months. After that, the leftovers will still be safe, but can dry out or lose flavor.


Want additional food safety tips?


If you have questions about your Thanksgiving dinner, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert. Last November they answered more than 3,000 calls about Thanksgiving dinner. You can also chat live with a food safety expert at AskKaren.gov, available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, in English and Spanish.


If you need help on Thanksgiving Day, the Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET.


Consumers with food safety questions can visit FoodSafety.gov to learn more about how to safely select, thaw and prepare a turkey. For more Thanksgiving food safety tips, follow FSIS on Twitter, @USDAFoodSafety, or on Facebook, at Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov.

Strong to severe thunderstorms possible Tuesday evening

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Given the limited or reduced staffing many organizations may have this week and the anticipated increase in travel for the holiday, we wanted to provide a brief update on the forecast for the upcoming Thanksgiving week.


Overview: Dry weather with gradually warming temperatures will start the week, but an approaching frontal system will bring a risk for a few strong to severe thunderstorms on Tuesday and Tuesday night. Expect the front to clear the region during the day on Wednesday, with dry weather resuming Thanksgiving Day. Low rain chances return to the forecast this weekend as a series of cold fronts move across the region, but severe weather is not currently expected during this time.
Hazards/Timing: Thunderstorms capable of damaging winds, isolated tornadoes (Tuesday and
                                      Tuesday night)
Location:       Severe weather will be possible across most of Southeast Texas Tuesday and
                           Tuesday night

Melissa Huffman & Charles Roeseler
NWS Houston/Galveston

The combination of a cold front and an upper level disturbance pushing across the area Tuesday evening into Wednesday could result in strong to severe storms. These storms could affect parts of the Hill Country including the Austin metro area and vicinity. Main weather hazards for the period are expected to be damaging winds and localized flash flooding.

There is a slight chance for strong to severe thunderstorms Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning across parts of the Hill Country, including the Austin metro area. The main hazards are expected to be damaging winds and localized flash flooding. The weather is expected to improve on Wednesday morning into the afternoon period with dry conditions expected for Thursday (Thanksgiving Day). Another weak upper level system is expected for the later part of the week with isolated showers and storms over two thirds of the area on Friday and drying for the upcoming weekend.

Here’s your Texas Thunder Radio Forecast:

Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. South southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. South southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 80. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Tuesday Night
Showers and thunderstorms, mainly after midnight. Low around 63. South southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

A 20 percent chance of showers before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. West northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north in the afternoon.

Wednesday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 51. North northeast wind around 5 mph.

Thanksgiving Day
Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. Northeast wind around 5 mph becoming southeast in the morning.

Thursday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56. Southeast wind around 5 mph becoming north northeast after midnight.

A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 69. North northeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 50.

Partly sunny, with a high near 71.

Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 55.

Partly sunny, with a high near 77.

Get up to the minute weather anytime from the TTR WeatherCenter powered by NWS Austin/San Antonio.

Strong front will move through, bring rain and cooler temps this weekend!

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A cold front will move through the area on Friday, bringing rain chances to all of south central Texas. The front will bring much cooler temperatures this weekend, with Sunday morning lows expected to range from the lower 30s in the Hill Country to the lower 40s along the Rio Grande. Temperatures will warm Monday and Tuesday as southerly winds return.


Now, Here’s your TTR Weather Forecast –

Cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely. Highs in the upper 70s. Temperature steady or slowly falling in the afternoon. South winds 5 to 10 mph shifting to the northwest 10 to 15 mph with gusts to around 30 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Friday Night
Much cooler. Partly cloudy before midnight then clearing. Lows in the mid 40s. North winds 10 to 20 mph.

Cooler…sunny. Highs in the lower 60s. North winds 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday Night
Clear. Lows in the upper 30s. North winds 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday And Sunday Night
Clear. Highs in the mid 60s. Lows 39 to 47.

Monday And Monday Night
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s. Lows 47 to 60.

From all of us at Texas Thunder Radio, Have a great weekend!


$35 Million in New Construction Planned for the Yoakum District Projects include the Hanselman Overpass and the Wharton Truss Bridge

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Yoakum – The Texas Transportation Commission has awarded the following construction contracts and grants for the Yoakum District.

County: Victoria (See below, Texas Mobility Fund)

County: Victoria         Highway:  US 59         Project Description: Construct 4-Lane Overpass

Project Area: Hanselman Road Intersection

Contractor: Hunter Industries, LTD.

Project Cost: $8,914,435.17                           Expected Duration: 11 Months


County: Wharton       Highway:  BU 59-R     Project Description:  Rehabilitate Existing Bridge

Project Area: at the Colorado River

Contractor: Cekra, Inc.

Project Cost: $4,875,271.50                           Expected Duration: 12 Months


County: Lavaca          Highway:  SH 95         Project Description: Resurfacing

Project Area: Fayette County Line to County Road 298

Contractor: Hunter Industries, LTD

Project Cost: $3,147,885.71                           Expected Duration: 4 Months


County: Matagorda    Highway: SH 60          Project Description: Add Centerline Rumble Strips

Project Area: Districtwide

Contractor: TRP Construction Group, LLC

Project Cost:   $100,967.03                            Expected Duration: 2 Months


County: Matagorda    Highway: SH 71          Project Description: Add Shoulders

Project Area: Wharton County Line to SH 35

Contractor: Cornerstone Paving and Construction, LL

Project Cost: $3,097,496.79                           Expected Duration: 8 Months


County: Gonzales      Highway:  US 90A      Project Description: Seal Coat

Project Area: Districtwide

Contractor: F.N. Ploch Construction Company, Inc.

Project Cost: $11,550,371.74                         Expected Duration: 5 Months


County: Gonzales      Highway:  FM 443      Project Description: Replace Bridge and Approaches

Project Area: Rocky Creek

Contractor: Hill Country Bridge, Inc.

Project Cost: $1,222,090.60                           Expected Duration: 5 Months


County: Fayette          Highway:  SH 71         Project Description: Safety Treat Fixed Objects

Project Area: Colorado County Line to SH 159

Contractor: Trevway, Inc.

Project Cost: $276,120.00                              Expected Duration: 7 Months


County: DeWitt           Highway:  SH 119       Project Description: Pavement Repair and Resurfacing

Project Area: SH 72 to Goliad County Line

Contractor: Dean Word Company, LTD.

Project Cost: $1,750,008.32                           Expected Duration: 4 Months


Victoria County Receives $2.8 Million from the Texas Mobility Fund

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved a grant for $2,856,668 to Victoria County to cover a portion of the construction costs to rehabilitate and widen McCoy Road, Canal Road, and Old Bloomington Road. The funding is from the Texas Mobility Fund, which allows TxDOT to issue bonds secured by future revenue. This allows the acceleration of mobility projects throughout the state. Victoria County will administer the construction contracts for these projects.


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img_3158LULING – From TxDOT Yoakum District offices, “The digital message board along I-10 WB near Buc-ee’s in Luling was hit today, please use caution in the area.”