KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Knox County Rescue Squad are warning people to use extra caution on or near local waterways after an above-normal stretch of rainfall in the last week.
According to the TVA, the Tennessee River Valley received 200% of normal rainfall in the last seven days, and some areas got over 10 inches. TVA also says the influx of rain caused lake levels at tributary dams to rise above the summer pool levels the agency had stored the water; it also created high river conditions downstream.
The Knox County Rescue Squad says these rising river conditions due to the influx of rainfall will affect river speeds that could create dangerous situations for water recreationalists.
Knox County Rescue said it will likely make kayaking in shallow areas of East Knox County more dangerous than they were over the Memorial Day weekend.
Both TVA and Knox County Rescue said people should wear lifejackets, or personal floatation devices, when on or near the water due to these river/lake level conditions.
“Please do not go near water without a lifejacket, and if you are less experienced, pick a slower moving area such as Fort Loudoun Lake and areas where it is deeper to go kayaking,” Knox County Rescue posted to its social media page on June 1.
In Tennessee, all boats, canoes and kayaks must be equipped with one wearable personal flotation device or PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, etc. Boats that measure 16 feet in length or more must also be equipped with one Type IV (throwable) PFD per boat in case someone falls overboard.