Tennessee dams releasing record amounts of rainwater

Posted at 6:02 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 08:18:00-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Near McMinnville, Great Falls Dam is pumping out 460,000 gallons of water per second.

The dam is the only facility operated by The Tennessee Valley Authority outside the Tennessee River Valley. James Everett manages TVA's River Forecast Center in Knoxville.

"We do shift our focus to flood control activities when we get some of this heavy rainfall," Everett said.

As of midday Thursday, Middle Tennessee had received 10.34 inches of water this February. That makes this February one of the wettest on record.

"It kind of amps up our response."

TVA is responsible for water levels on the Tennessee River. It's partner on the Cumberland River is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"There's a handful of touch points that TVA has with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including in Nashville, even Cincinnati in regulating the Ohio River."

The Corps operates J. Percy Priest Dam, Old Hickory Dam, Cheatham Dam, Center Hill Dam and Cordell Hull Dam in Middle Tennessee.

Everett cautioned people who want to get up close to the dams as they release the rainwater.

"We do urge folks, especially folks on the river by boat, to steer clear of dams. These are very hazardous conditions and turbulent waters. Although it may be a sight to get a picture of...high water can be hazardous."

Click here for the latest information from the Corps of Engineers that is monitoring stream conditions and the release of water from it's 10 dams as heavy rain continues to impact the region this week.