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Lake Conditions

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Conditions as of 9 pm 7/02/2015 Upper Lower Water

Kentucky Lake

Water Clarity:
Some Color

Current:   87,896 cfs / Above Average










Lake Barkley

Water Clarity:
Stained/Some Debris

Current:   18,200 cfs / Average












Special Lake Information & Notices

Heavy rain has fallen across the Tennessee Valley and that has caused the lakes to increase some. The lakes will probably go up a bit more, but it doesn't appear to be anything drastic. Watch for debris on the lakes, especially Lake Barkley.

A Note About The Table Below

The projected forecasts below reflect stages at 6am on those days. The data comes from TVA provided in a text product through the National Weather Service.

Forecast Date Kentucky Upper Kentucky Flow Barkley Upper Barkley Flow
07/02 359.6' 59,280 cfs 359.9' 17,680 cfs
07/03 359.8' 70,000 cfs 359.7' 22,000 cfs
07/04 360.1' 70,000 cfs 360.0' 22,000 cfs
07/05 360.4' 60,000 cfs 360.3' 15,000 cfs
07/06 361.0' 33,950 cfs 360.9' 7,000 cfs
07/07 361.4' 65,000 cfs 361.3' 15,000 cfs
07/08 361.5' 80,000 cfs 361.4' 18,000 cfs

Explanation of Values

Water temperatures are reported from Murray State University and TVA.  Normal water temperatures are based on historical fishing reports and normal air temperatures.  Click here for a chart of normal water temps.

Change - this shows the difference in the past 24 hours.

Normal - this shows the departure from normal.

cfs = cubic feet per second, which is the amount of water that is discharged through the dams.

Water Clarity - "stained" means some murkiness or discolor in the lakes.  "Normal" means typical clarity, usually 3-4 feet for Kentucky.  "Muddy" means no clarity at all.

Lake elevation is based on sea-level.  Strength of current is based on the discharge rate at the dams.  Kentucky Lake is much larger than Lake Barkley, so 100,000 cfs at Barkley Dam produces stronger current than 100,000 cfs at Kentucky Dam.  Use this unofficial chart to compare current strengths.

Elevations and forecasts are provided by TVA in real-time.

The Kentucky Lake Operating Guide is provided by TVA.  The red line indicates the midnight elevation.  The black line indicates last year's elevation.  The gray area is normal lake levels.  The yellow line is their Flowage Easement Level.

Kentucky Lake Operating Guide

TVA Operating Guide

Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Records

  • Kentucky Lake Record High:  372.49' set on May 4, 2011
  • Lake Barkley Record High:  372.49' set on May 4, 2011
  • Kentucky Lake Record Low:  348.02' set on March 11, 1961
  • Lake Barkley Record Low:  352.3' set on April 19, 1982
  • Lake Barkley Record cfs:  303,000 set on May 4, 2010
  • Lake Barkley Lower Record High:  350.8' set on May 4, 2010

Photo by Melodie Cunningham

September and October marks prime rutting season for elk. Elk rut to defend their territory and females (known as cows).