TVA Lowers Lake Levels To Prepare For Rain From Tropical Storm Cindy
June 21, 2017 | Press Release from TVA
Heavy rains are forecast for much of the Tennessee Valley from tropical storm Cindy beginning Thursday. To help minimize flooding, the Tennessee Valley Authority will be lowering some lake levels to create additional water storage capacity. Those lakes being lowered include Fort Loudoun, Watts Bar, Chickamauga, Nickajack, Guntersville, Wheeler, Wilson, Pickwick, and Kentucky.
Current forecasts predict 5 to 6 inches of rain moving into the Tennessee Valley region late Thursday through Saturday. Normal rainfall for the entire month of June is usually about 4 inches.
“We are taking proactive steps to prepare for this coming rain event by lowering lake levels where we have the ability to create additional storage for the rain we expect to receive,” said James Everett, manager of River Forecasting Center Operations Support. “Our team will be closely tracking this system and continuously receiving up-to- the-minute information about rainfall and lake levels. This data will be used to model various scenarios and help us minimize flood damage along TVA’s entire system of dams and reservoirs.”
With Tennessee River lake levels dropping over the next few days, property owners should take appropriate measures to protect boats and other property that may be impacted by the drawdown. When TVA begins moving more water through its dams it will cause faster-than-normal river flows and excess debris. Extra caution should be taken in all river traffic and lake recreation. Reservoir levels could also rise quickly once the rainfall accumulates into the rivers, creeks and streams that flow into the reservoirs.
On Monday, TVA began to drawn down lake levels by releasing water through hydro turbines to generate electricity. If necessary, TVA will supplement turbine releases by spilling or sluicing excess water to further lower lake levels.
Lakes located on Tennessee River tributaries will remain near current levels and only minimum flows will be released. Tributary lakes may experience spikes in water levels depending on the amount of rainfall and runoff received from the storm.
TVA manages its 49 dams, including nine dams on the main stem of the Tennessee River and 10 major tributary dams, to regulate the amount of water stored behind the dams upstream to help control flooding downstream.