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Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Levels

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Right now it's fair with an air temperature of 84° at Kentucky Lake. Get detailed current weather, radar, and hourly forecasts.

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Levels & Conditions

Conditions as of noon 8/18/2017 Upper Lower Water

Kentucky Lake

Water Clarity:
Generally Clear

Current:   47,322 cfs / Average

357.9'
0.3'▼

Change

+1.1'

Normal

304.1'
1.8'▲

Change

+2.1

Normal

83°

Lake Barkley

Water Clarity:
Some Stain

Current:   27,900 cfs / Average

357.8'
0.2'▼

Change

+1.0'

Normal

308.0'
0.9'▲

Change

+6.0

Normal

Normal

356.8'
302.0'
86°

Special Lake Information & Notices

Tons of boaters are expected to be on the water this weekend, perhaps more congested than ever before. So drive defensively, take your time and be safe on the water!
Forecast Kentucky Upper Kentucky Flow Barkley Upper Barkley Flow
Today 6:00am 358.3' 47,000 cfs 358.3' 27,900 cfs
12:00pm 358.3' 47,000 cfs 358.2' 27,900 cfs
6:00pm 358.3' 47,000 cfs 358.2' 27,900 cfs
8/19 12:00am 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.3' 27,900 cfs
6:00am 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.3' 27,900 cfs
12:00pm 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.2' 27,900 cfs
6:00pm 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.2' 27,900 cfs
8/20 12:00am 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.3' 27,900 cfs
6:00am 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.2' 27,900 cfs
12:00pm 358.3' 35,000 cfs 358.1' 27,900 cfs
6:00pm 358.2' 35,000 cfs 358.1' 27,900 cfs
8/21 12:00am 358.2' 35,000 cfs 358.2' 27,900 cfs
6:00am 358.2' 35,000 cfs 358.1' 27,900 cfs
12:00pm 358.1' 35,000 cfs 358.0' 27,900 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.

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
  • 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:  92° set 7/24/16

Pinta
Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

Replicas of the Nina and Pinta occasionally dock at Green Turtle Bay. We snapped a photo of the masts of the Pinta last summer.