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Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Levels

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Right Now:  overcast with an air temperature of 59° at Kentucky Lake. Get detailed current weather, radar, and hourly forecasts.

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Levels & Conditions

Conditions as of 2 PM 3/20/2019 Upper Lower Water

Kentucky Lake

Water Clarity:
Heavily Stained

Current:   199,800 cfs / Strong

Last 48 Hours

355.5'
0.6'▼

Change

+1.5'

Normal

331.9'
2.0'▼

Change

+29.9

Normal

52°

Lake Barkley

Water Clarity:
Muddy, Some Debris

Current:   90,600 cfs / Strong

Last 48 Hours

355.6'
0.6'▼

Change

+1.6'

Normal

336.3'
1.4'▼

Change

+34.3

Normal

Normal

354.0'
302.0'
54°

Special Lake Information & Notices

Normal Lake Conditions In Sight

The long-term lake levels and discharge forecast from TVA's River Forecast Center continues to call for a downward trend over the next week. In fact, this time next week, Kentucky Lake is forecast to be near winter pool with only 110,000 cubic feet per second being discharged. Unless we receive more rain or if flooding ramps up on rivers downstream, we expect the lakes to be where they should be by the end of the month.
Forecast Kentucky Upper Kentucky Flow Barkley Upper Barkley Flow
Today 5:00pm 355.6' 199,150 cfs 355.5' 92,500 cfs
11:00pm 355.5' 198,340 cfs 355.5' 90,000 cfs
3/21 5:00am 355.4' 197,130 cfs 355.4' 90,000 cfs
11:00am 355.5' 173,770 cfs 355.4' 90,000 cfs
5:00pm 355.6' 152,730 cfs 355.6' 76,670 cfs
11:00pm 355.7' 155,040 cfs 355.6' 75,000 cfs
3/22 5:00am 355.7' 155,560 cfs 355.6' 75,000 cfs
11:00am 355.6' 154,810 cfs 355.6' 75,000 cfs
5:00pm 355.6' 154,060 cfs 355.5' 75,000 cfs
11:00pm 355.5' 153,310 cfs 355.4' 75,000 cfs
3/23 5:00am 355.4' 151,690 cfs 355.3' 75,000 cfs
11:00am 355.2' 149,440 cfs 355.1' 75,000 cfs
5:00pm 355.1' 147,190 cfs 355.0' 75,000 cfs
11:00pm 355.0' 144,940 cfs 354.9' 75,000 cfs

Explanation of Values

Water temperatures are reported from Hancock Biological Station on Ledbetter Bay at Kentucky Lake and are measured at the surface.  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.

Lake elevations and current forecasts are provided in real-time from TVA and the NWS.

The Kentucky Lake Operating Guide is provided by TVA.

Kentucky Lake Operating Guide

TVA Operating Guide

Normal Lake Stages

  • May 1 - July 1:  Summer Pool - 359.0'
  • Dec. 1 - March 31:  Winter Pool - 354.0'
  • The gray-shaded area in the chart above shows the target lake stages for Kentucky Lake throughout the course of a year.

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
  • Kentucky Lake Record cfs:  446,000 set in 1944
  • Lake Barkley Record cfs:  303,000 set on May 4, 2011
  • Lake Barkley Lower Record High:  350.8' set on May 4, 2011
  • Kentucky Lake Record High Water Temp:  90.8° set 8/2/11
  • Kentucky Lake Record Low Water Temp:  36.2° set 1/12/2010
Sunset
Photo by Nancy Smith

There are few things more beautiful than a Kentucky Lake sunset. The best place to view a sunset is from the western shore of Land Between The Lakes.