Flood warning still in effect for the Shoals portion of the Tennessee River

The rising water at McFarland Park has already caused a portion of it to be shut down.

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 4:03 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2019 5:49 PM

A flood warning is in effect for the Tennessee River in Florence and more rain is on the way.

The city of Florence shut down the main part of McFarland Park because of high water. They also evacuated about eight campers over the weekend because of the rising Tennessee River.

"You can't get through the gates. You can't get to the campground and it's better off that way, because that's giving people an opportunity to put themselves at risk," said Kayla Herring, who was at the open part of McFarland Park looking at how high the water had come up.

All of Wilson Dams spillways have been open for the last few days spilling millions of gallons per second through the dam. Mcfarland Park is built to withstand flooding. Flood stage for this portion of the Tennessee River is 18 feet and right now it's at 19 feet. The water is already swallowing up the beach area of McFarland Park. Fred Boughner, the park superintendent, said that's why they have closed the main area.

"Anytime they increase our spill, it hits us almost immediately. So I have to be pretty sure the river isn't going to come up and block people in the park," said Boughner.

With the quick currents, emergency management officials are urging people to stay off the river because of debris you might not see.

"Debris is very, very large sometimes. We've had full trees, so it's not good to be out on the water until this gets back to normal pull," said Lauderdale County EMA Director, George Grabryan.

Herring said she got a first-hand look at just how dangerous the water is right now.

"The state troopers came by a little bit ago and just watching their boat fight the current to go up stream, I mean you can honestly tell it's very dangerous to be on the water. I would advise people not to be out here," said Herring.

Florence city officials said it's unclear when the main part of McFarland Park will be opened back up. The water needs to go down to about 16 feet before they do that. EMA officials do not expect any other issues to arise from the flooding on the river.

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