TVA is using all 49 dams to prevent flooding in the Tennessee Valley

TVA is using its entire dam system to prevent flooding.

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 4:00 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2019 9:30 PM

More inches of rain are expected to fall in North Alabama where we've already seen record breaking amounts of rainfall in the winter of 2018. This trend is continuing into 2019.

The Tennessee Valley Authority told WAAY 31 this rain is affecting all 49 of their dams in an effort to stop the Tennessee Valley from flooding.

Currently, Wilson Dam is spilling 1.6 million gallons per second and Wheeler Dam is spilling 1.5 million gallons per second.

"I was passing through yesterday from Wheeler Dam, and all gates are open. I was passing through Wilson Dam. All gates were open," said Vinnie Patel.

TVA officials said they are spilling millions of gallons of water per second through North Alabama dams in an effort to curb any flooding.

"For a flood event or rain event of this magnitude, we're going to be doing things across the entire system," said TVA River Forecaster, James Everett.

Everett said they are storing water in 10 of their tributary areas to help keep North Alabama from flooding.

"We're storing as much water as we can and reducing levels to hold them as low as we can during this coming week," said Everett.

The fast currents from the North Alabama dams spilling so much water has created a dangerous environment for boaters.

"There could be a tree floating, just maybe a foot under the surface of the water that could turn a boat over or knock the prop off the boat," said Colbert County Emergency Management Director, Mike Melton. "There are several different things you could look at just trying to respond.

Melton said he and others are urging people to stay off the river because if rescue teams have to go out, that's putting them in danger too.

"With the currents as flowing as big as they are, how are we going to be able to catch up to you safely and get you out?" said Melton.

TVA expects Wilson Dam to be spilling large amounts of water for at least the next week and a half.

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