Record-Breaking Rains

The Tennessee Valley has received rainfall for the first three months of 2020 breaking records dating back to 1891, and TVA continues to manage a staggering amount of water.

APRIL 1, 2020 — About an inchof rain received on the last day of March and over 8 inches for the month has set a record for first quarter calendar year rainfall in the Tennessee Valley.

The 24.61 inches from January to March 2020 is the most rainfall received in the first three months of any year in Tennessee Valley’s  history, surpassing the old record of 23.95 inches set way back in 1891.

This total is more than 3 inches wetter than the same period in 2019, which ranked seventh on the all-time record, said James Everett, senior manager of TVA’s River Forecast Center.

“Over 18 inches of that first quarter record rainfall fell in February and March, which is a remarkable in that this was the third wettest consecutive two-month period for the Valley since this data first started being recorded 131 years ago,” Everett said. “The last three months have been an ongoing cycle of holding back water to avert flood damage, releasing a large amount to recover storage and balancing Tennessee River flows through a sustained above-normal rain event.”

Historical January-March Rainfall in the Valley


To view or export the data, click on the menu in the top-right corner of the chart.

TVA continues spilling at all nine Tennessee River dams and will continue large releases from tributary dams to preserve and recover flood storage prior to any future rain events that may occur this spring.

Stakeholder impacts included temporary closure of the Chickamauga Lock due to high tailwater, as well as Nickajack gorge closure to commercial navigation. Flows have been reduced at Chickamauga Dam to allow daytime-only barge movements through the gorge. Flood control operations at Kentucky and Barkley dams continue with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and headwaters are expected to continue rising with a crest about 3 feet above normal summer pool at both locations.

The Tennessee River at Florence, Alabama, has crested and is below flood stage as of Monday, March 30. At Savannah, Clifton, Perryville and Johnsonville in Tennessee, river levels have crested or are expected to crest this week, but all will remain above flood stage for the next few days. 

Valley residents should continue to expect and prepare for elevated tributary and river levels and rapid main river flows that have been in place for the last two months. For more information and updates on TVA lake levels and river management activities, download TVA's Lake Info app; visit TVA.com; or follow TVA’s Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.