James Everett, Senior Manager of the River Forecast Center of TVA, said that it is now official that 2018 was the wettest on record across the Tennessee Valley. The basin average for 2018 was 67.1 inches of rain. The previous record was set in 1973 with 65.1 inches.
The rainfall covers the Tennessee River not just Lake Guntersville. For instance, Everett said that a weatherman reports for a single area, but this is for the 41,000 square miles in the Tennessee River basin. At Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, they received 118.8 inches of rain in their rain gauge.
In Guntersville, our waters are affected by the rainfall in North Carolina even though we may not know it. Everett said that the flood waters that hit Asheville waters in North Carolina will eventually make their way through Guntersville.
Right now, all nine dams are spilling water around the clock.
“We are storing water in the tributaries and utilizing the limited storage space at the main stem reservoirs as they manage flood crests on the Tennessee River,” Everett said.
The forecast is calling for above flood stage at Savannah, Clifton and Perryville, Tennessee, along with Florence, Alabama, over the next week.
TVA urges people using the river to pay attention to their surroundings especially around the dam area. Listen for sirens, horns and look for warning signs near the dam. They advise that people pay attention for debris in the river as well. TVA does not regulate boating, but they strongly encourage caution especially near the dam.
The dam is experiencing high flow levels. They have 15 out of the 18 gates opened to release the excess water flow. There are pushing 170 cubic feet per second of water which is about 1.3 gallons of water per second.
TVA will continue to manage and watch the forecast over the next few days. They will continue to manage the water flow as well.