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TVA spilling 1.7 million gallons per second through Wilson Dam

McFarland Park is closed in Florence due to flooding.

Posted: Mar. 1, 2018 5:24 PM
Updated: Mar. 1, 2018 5:41 PM

The National Weather Service said, the Tennessee River in Florence will peak Friday around noon to almost five feet above flood stage.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is currently spilling 1.7 million gallons per second through Wilson Dam to minimize the flooding threat.

"It sounds like being on the ocean," said Braxton Greenhill, as he watched the water flow through Wilson Dam at TVA's Rockpile Recreation Area.

"Looking at it from here it's up at least several feet. The pier down at the end is already underwater," said Greenhill.

TVA told WAAY 31, the rainfall in North Alabama has affected their operations at just about all 49 of their dams. They are flowing the least amount of water possible at dams all the way up into Virginia to minimize flooding impacts along the Tennessee River. They have staff around the clock making adjustments every six hours.

"I'm really happy TVA has got our back. I feel like TVA always has our back but extra when we have bad weather and stuff is going wrong," said Emily Franks.

TVA security closed the Rockpile Recreation Area around 4:30, Thursday afternoon because the waters were rising.

Florence officials also closed off McFarland Park on Thursday, because the water there was rising. Florence Police put barricades up at the entrance of the park to keep people out.

Before the park closed Thursday many people were down fishing off the river banks, just to how high the water was getting.

"It's kind of scary in away. It makes you respect water a whole lot more," said Stanley Lasater.

The beach portion of McFarland Park was underwater and the water was almost up at the top of the boat ramps. Officials moved campers out of the area last week because they knew the river would rise. All of the structures at McFarland Park were built to withstand flood waters. If the water gets any higher, officials will cut electricity to the park.

Emergency management officials are urging people to stay off the Tennessee River and any creeks, because the currents can be dangerous with this much water flowing through Wilson Dam.

Florence officials said once the river goes below flood stage they will open the park back up, but it could be closed throughout the weekend.

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