TVA: Expect to see large flows from Wilson Dam in Muscle Shoals over next few days

The Tennessee River in Florence is expected to crest later in the week.

Posted: Mar 30, 2021 4:11 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2021 7:20 PM

Flood warnings have been issued for the Tennessee River in Florence and other parts of North Alabama. The river will continue to rise with more rain coming.

Currently, Wilson Dam in Muscle Shoals is spilling about 1.5 million gallons of water per second through the dam. That's causing the river to rise to almost 19 feet.

"We're recovering from last weekend's rain event where we saw several inches of rainfall across the entire main river," said Darrell Guinn, TVA's Riverforecast Center operations manager.

Guinn said even though the rain is gone, sites like this one at Wilson Dam with multiple spillways open won't be going away.

"It takes a few days for the water to make its way in the system, and then, as it does, we push it on through by releasing pretty large volumes of water through all the reservoirs right now," said Guinn. "There's a lot of debris along the shorelines, all the creeks and smaller rivers and streams that get impacted as well have a lot of debris in them, and everything makes its way into the big reservoirs, and that is an extremely dangerous situation where boaters have to take precautions because a lot of that debris is submerged right under the surface."

Guinn said the most dangerous spots on the rivers and lakes are any places near the dams that are spilling large amounts of water.

"With rain events like this and flows as they are significant fluctuation in pull levels can change rapidly, as well as flows. We advise everyone to avoid above and below the dams because they are unpredictable during these times," said Guinn.

TVA's Riverforecast Center is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will be adjusting flows over the next few days to handle more rain that's coming in. The river will crest later on this week.

Since the river levels are at minor floodstage, the city of Florence has evacuated its campgrounds at McFarland Park, which is standard protocol.

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