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Douglas Dam spills to avoid flooding

9:22 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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TVA has opened five flood gates at the Douglas Dam to help lower water levels.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is having to spill at several of its dams to avoid flooding.

All nine main river dams on the Tennessee River are spilling water at this time.

In January, TVA said the area above the Douglas Dam in Sevier County received more than 10 inches of rain.

According to TVA, Douglas Dam is letting out 184,000 gallons of water per second to lower lake levels.

The last time it spilled at this rate was in 2004.

"We don't spill Douglas a lot. Douglas can release a lot of water through its turbines but if we get as much water as we have right now, we have to release additional water," said James Everett, TVA operations support manager for river forecasting.

Water levels at Douglas Lake are 30 feet above its winter pool.

TVA is trying to recover 6 ft. to 7 ft. of pool per week.

"When we got all that rain in January we were able to store that water... and that certainly helped to reduce the flood crest downstream at places like Knoxville, and Chattanooga, and other parts of the valley as well," Everett said.

Efforts to control flooding may be challenged with the potential for more rain this weekend.

According to TVA, Douglas Dam will most likely continue to spill at this rate for at least this week.

To get levels back to normal for this time of year, it could take four weeks.

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