KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennessee is experiencing a weather rarity this week: sunshine. Friday marked three straight days of dry weather. The last three consecutive days without rain in the area were Jan. 8-10.
Even though the rain has stopped, TVA is warning river and lake levels will continue to change as the public utility moves water downriver and recovers storage capacity in the tributary lakes to prepare for the possibility of more rain in the coming weeks.
James Everett, senior manager at the TVA River Forecast Center said water flowing out of Fort Loudoun Dam is already double what would be expected on a usual winter day.
TVA was moving water at a rate of 67,000 cubic feet per second Friday afternoon at the dam and it will increase to nearly 80,000 cfs, or 592,000 gallons of water per second, by days end.
River users are being urged to use extreme caution everywhere on the river system. TVA says these are not normal flows and are not favorable to recreational boating.
Norris Lake is already at summer pool levels and could go up an additional 2 feet. Cherokee Lake is about 7-8 feet below the summer pool level and could go up another foot and a half.
The higher water level no only affects water levels but power generation. Everett said the utility has generators running but the high levels in circumstances limit how much power can be produced.
TVA also addressed why they can’t just leave the lakes at their summer levels for the months ahead. Everett said it takes quite a while to lower the lake levels and there are several months before boating season which could potentially bring more rain.