TVA dealing with "extremely rare" amount of rain for July

8:28 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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  • TVA is spilling water at Fontana Dam. Courtesy: TVA
    

TVA is working hard to control an excessive amount of water in East Tennessee.

Over the preceding six days, eight to 10 inches of rain fell across portions of the southern valley in East Tennessee and the mountains along the state line.

In Western North Carolina, portions of the TVA watershed received as much as 15 inches of rain in the first week of July.

Fort Loudoun Dam was spilling Monday, moving 570,000 gallons per second. That amount of water would almost fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every second.  Even with those efforts, elevation was above 813.5 in Fort Loudoun, that's above the normal summer pool.

They were spilling water at Douglas Dam, and at dams all the way down the main stem of the Tennessee River.

At Douglas, officials said part of a campground was evacuated because of high water below the dam.

The sight was creating a bit of a tourist attraction Monday.

"It's awsome. It's why we rode out here. My neice is down here from Florida and I had to bring her down here and show her this, becausee she's never seen anything like it," said Steve Tucker of Sevierville.

"I take pictures of it. I love it. It's just fantastic to me. It's not a work of nature but close to it," said Sevierville's Art Mikles.

TVA officials also said the Tennessee river was approaching some buildings in Chattanooga.  The river was 15 feet above normal there, but not expected to rise any more. 

TVA officials also said the Tennessee river was approaching some buildings in Chattanooga.  The river was 15 feet above normal there, but not expected to rise any more. 

Watauga Lake in upper East Tennessee was at a record high, nearly 8 feet about normal summer levels.

Fontana Dam was also spilling water in Western North Carolina, pushing the water through tunnels at the second-highest rate in the dam's history.

Officials said they may open the gates again at Norris Dam later.

In north Georgia, water was spilling at Chatuge for the first time since 1989.

Officials sid the reservoirs are above flood stages in Alabama and in West Tennessee, affecting agricultural fields and park & recreation lands.

According to TVA, this amount of rain in July "extremely rare".

"It is a challenge. We like to keep the lakes as high as we can in the summer for recreation purposes so we have a little bit less room to store water," said TVA river manager James Everett.

The swift-moving water in the Tennessee River was also expected to stop commercial river traffic for a week or longer in East Tennessee.

 

 

 

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