Soggy weekend expected in East Tennessee

Soggy weekend expected in East Tennessee; TVA monitoring water levels

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TVA spilled water over Norris Dam in late April. TVA spilled water over Norris Dam in late April.
"We're going to be here around the clock, monitoring water levels and adjusting releases as necessary," said TVA River Forecast Operations Support Manager James Everett. "We're going to be here around the clock, monitoring water levels and adjusting releases as necessary," said TVA River Forecast Operations Support Manager James Everett.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - If you have outdoor plans in East Tennessee this weekend, you may want to reconsider.

A weekend of soaking rain is in the forecast for most of the 6 News viewing area.

6 Storm Team Meteorologist Julya Johnson said rain will enter the area on Saturday morning and continue off and on through to Sunday evening with heavy downpours at times.

Between two to four inches of rain are predicted for the weekend.

Localized flooding is expected in areas caught under heavy rains.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Fentress and Cumberland counties between 7 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

Another flood watch was issued Friday afternoon for McMinn County from Saturday morning through Monday morning.

The system will also bring cooler temperatures with it, dropping highs down to the mid-60s and lows to around 50 degrees.

East Tennessee is already 10.7" of precipitation ahead of what is expected for this time of year.

Recently, TVA spilled water over Norris Dam because water levels were five feet above normal for this time of year and two feet above summer peak.

Officials said they needed to spill the water in order to create more water storage for future rainfall, including that which is expected this weekend.

Even though the water is still above summer levels at Norris Lake, the flow has stopped to honor TVA's recreation commitment below the dam this weekend.

But lakes are at or above the summer levels across the region, not just at Norris.

"We're going to be here around the clock, monitoring water levels and adjusting releases as necessary," said TVA River Forecast Operations Support Manager James Everett. "We've got to operate the system to meet several objectives, including flood control and navigation, power generation among others, so it's a balancing act and we're here 24/7."

High water levels aren't specific to the Knoxville area; TVA is having to monitor its entire system this weekend.

"The water in Knoxville does end up eventually in Chattanooga so we have to keep a very close eye on the river in Chattanooga. We might have to increase releases there if we were to get a lot of rain in the Knoxville area, all that rain would eventually have to be run out down through Chattanooga," Everett explained.

For boaters, high water can be an issue, just like when levels are low.

"When the lake is down, it not only, kind of makes the lake look uglier, but you take more of a chance of running your boat aground and it just sometimes can be an inconvenience," said boater Isaac Waldschlager.

One of the problems that comes up when lake levels get high is extra debris floating on the lake.

"You take a big chance of damaging your boat and nobody wants that," stated Norris Dam Marina employee Corey Roberts.

TVA will watch the rain this weekend very closely in order to make the best possible choices.

"The more we know about how much it's going to rain and where it's going to fall, the more we can make decisions about where to store that water and where to release more," Everett added.

TVA plans to start spilling again at Norris Dam early next week.

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