TVA stops commercial traffic on Tennessee River because of swift water

12:58 PM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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From TVA:

TVA is actively managing this rain event and water levels in the tributary system (Norris, Cherokee, Douglas, etc). We're holding water in the tributary dams and will release it gradually after this weather event moves out. We'll move the water out using the generating turbines and we are not going to be spilling out of the tributary dams.

As for the Tennessee River. we are now going to spill excess water at the last remaining dam that wasn't spilling, Watts Bar dam, which is located on the Tennessee River between Knoxville and Chattanooga. So by early afternoon we will be spilling excess water at all nine main Tennessee River dams. As always we're always at full turbine capacity - generating electricity anytime we're spilling. We just can release enough water through the turbines - so we spill.

We've had to increase the discharge rate from Fort Loudoun dam, located near Knoxville, to 70,000 cubic feet per second (about 518,000 gallons per second) and it looks like that will be increased later today. Because of the increase, the river is closed to commercial river traffic and the navigation lock is closed at Fort Loudoun. The water is running too fast to safety operate the navigation lock.

Fort Loudoun, Watts Bar and Chickamauga (near Chattanooga) are a couple a feet about summer elevations (summer elevations are when we allow the water levels on the lakes to be at their highest) - this is impacting boat docks.

The lower Tennessee River from Guntersville (northern Ala.) to Kentucky Dam near Paducah, Ky., are holding steady with Guntersville, Wheeler and Wilson all discharging around 170,000 cubic feet per second (about 1.25 million gallons per second) and at Kentucky we're holding at about 1.5 million gallons per second.

TVA's River Forecast Center in Knoxville is actively managing the moving of water and is keeping a close eye on flooding conditions. Mainly agriculture areas are being impacted with no structures.



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