Rain Stops but High Water Keeps TVA River Management Working Hard

The rain has stopped (for now), but the aftermath is keeping TVA’s river management personnel working hard to relieve flooding and release water from brimming reservoirs to recover storage space for future flood events.

FEBRUARY 27, 2019 — February rains have been about 300percent of normal, according to TVA’s River Forecast Center, creating flooding conditions along the Tennessee River and its reservoirs over the past week—especially in northern Alabama and middle and west Tennessee. Whereas the eastern part of the Tennessee Valley has seen over 10 inches of rain through February,  the western Valley has seen over 12 inches of rainfall. TVA’s rain gauges at Wilson Dam near Florence, Ala. and Town Creek, Ala., have measured about 13.5 inches just in the last two weeks.

River and lake levels are cresting after days of downpour, and water levels will remain high as TVA River Management manages releases from its system of 49 dams to recover flood storage capacity for the next rain event. 

“We held back as much water as we could to reduce downstream flooding,” said James Everett, TVA River Forecast Center manager. “Now we’re releasing it through the dams at higher than normal flow rates and as downstream conditions allow.  Flows from Norris Dam are around 24,000 cubic feet per second. This creates swift water and potentially hazardous conditions below our dams. Everyone should stay off the river now if possible, or use extreme caution.”

TVA-approved and licensed aerial footage of spilling at Norris Dam. 

Numerous locks along the Tennessee River are closed to all commercial vessel traffic right now, including Watts Bar, Chickamauga, Nickajack, Guntersville and Kentucky.  

 In general, lake levels are receding. However, TVA is working in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage water levels on Kentucky Lake to relieve flooding on the Ohio River, so water levels there remain high and also increase as additional water is stored. 

Get real-time access to lake levels via TVA’s free LakeInfo app or visit our Lake Levels page.

Impacts Across the Valley

Tennessee River Flood Forecasts from the National Weather Service, which include TVA data:

Stay Informed

TVA places a high priority on collaborating with our public safety partners — the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and others — to quickly provide the latest information on weather forecasts, expected rainfall, water levels and potential impacts. TVA will reach out to National Weather Service, farmers, marinas, local EMA’s and other groups across the Valley to provide advanced warning about rising river levels. Residents in flood-prone areas should stay tuned to National Weather Service alerts for warning information, as well as local media.

We will update public and media outlets, as well as post information on our website at www.tva.com/februaryrains2019. For the very latest information, updated around the clock, check our Facebook and Twitter feeds.


Lake Info App

Want your lake info to go? Download the TVA Lake Info app, an easy-to-use resource for operating on and around reservoirs and dams in the TVA region. Available for iPhone and Android devices.