TVA continues major flood control operation

From Staff Reports

   Tennessee Valley Authority was spilling water at some of its dams Wednesday and was engaged in a major flood control operation, due to heavy rainfall, to minimize impacts to the Tennessee River system.
   The Tennessee River was expected to reach 656.1 feet above sea level at Chattanooga by mid-afternoon Wednesday, or five feet above flood stage at the Walnut Street Bridge. Flood damage was expected to impact about 300 structures in the Chattanooga area, with damage estimated at about $7 million.
   Comparable historic flooding occurred in Chattanooga in April 1998 when flood waters reached 30.3 feet. Other flood events occurred in May 1984 (34.8 feet), May 1973 (29.1 feet), and March 1973 (36.9 feet).
   During the last 72 hours, an average of 5 to 8 inches of rain fell between Knoxville and Chattanooga, with some areas near Watts Bar receiving more than 11 inches.
   TVA has been spilling water at all main river dams and now is spilling at Douglas, Fontana, Appalachia, Great Falls, and Ocoee 1, 2 and 3. Water levels are significantly above normal summer pool levels in the tributaries and in Fort Loudoun, Watts Bar, and Chickamauga reservoirs, according to TVA media relations.
   The U.S. Coast Guard closed Guntersville, Nickajack and Chickamauga locks, and the area below Chickamauga Dam down to river mile 432 below the gorge, to barge traffic until further notice. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began flood control operations Tuesday at Kentucky Reservoir.
   TVA said it has notified all state and local emergency management agencies, including the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Services, and is continuously providing them with updated flood information.