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Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Levels

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Right Now:  heavy rain fog/mist with an air temperature of 54° at Kentucky Lake. Get detailed current weather, radar, and hourly forecasts.

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Levels & Conditions

Conditions as of 1 AM 2/21/2018 Upper Lower Water

Kentucky Lake

Water Clarity:
Some Stain

Current:   244,258 cfs / Very Strong

354.4'
0.4'▼

Change

+0.4'

Normal

329.6'
1.2'▲

Change

+27.6

Normal

52°

Lake Barkley

Water Clarity:
Muddy

Current:   116,800 cfs / Very Strong

354.5'
0.3'▼

Change

+0.5'

Normal

335.6'
1.2'▲

Change

+33.6

Normal

Normal

354.0'
302.0'
45°

Special Lake Information & Notices

Strong current continues on the lakes and will for the foreseeable future. The lakes may rise this week and next with the heavy rain forecast across the south. Stay tuned!

Stay safe out there!
Forecast Kentucky Upper Kentucky Flow Barkley Upper Barkley Flow
Today 5:00am 354.3' 241,710 cfs 354.2' 113,840 cfs
11:00am 354.3' 240,360 cfs 354.2' 113,600 cfs
5:00pm 354.2' 239,800 cfs 354.2' 113,430 cfs
11:00pm 354.2' 239,800 cfs 354.2' 113,300 cfs
2/22 5:00am 354.2' 239,800 cfs 354.1' 113,180 cfs
11:00am 354.2' 239,800 cfs 354.1' 113,050 cfs
5:00pm 354.1' 239,800 cfs 354.1' 113,000 cfs
11:00pm 354.1' 239,800 cfs 354.1' 113,000 cfs
2/23 5:00am 354.1' 239,800 cfs 354.1' 113,000 cfs
11:00am 354.1' 239,800 cfs 354.0' 113,000 cfs
5:00pm 354.1' 239,800 cfs 354.0' 113,000 cfs
11:00pm 354.0' 239,800 cfs 354.1' 108,670 cfs
2/24 5:00am 354.0' 239,800 cfs 354.0' 100,000 cfs
11:00am 354.0' 239,800 cfs 354.0' 100,000 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
  • 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

In Flight
Photo by John Mitchell

Gliding gracefully over the water, this heron keeps a stealthy eye out for his next meal. Herons are one of the more common species of birds that can be seen at Kentucky Lake.