Flood gates open at Percy Priest Dam to create more storage in advance of next storm system

Middle TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After the previous rains this week, some Middle Tennessee lakes and streams are running a little higher than normal.

With more rain in the forecast for later this weekend, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is being proactive to create more storage in reservoirs like Percy Priest Lake where the flood gates are open at the dam.

“Right now, we are recovering from the previous rainfall that happened,” explained Anthony Rodino, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Chief of Water Management. “So what we’re doing is we are working to discharge from our reservoirs as you see behind me.

“We definitely try to mitigate as much as possible,” Rodino noted. “And projects like this help us do that. Other projects like Center Hill, Dale Hollow, Wolf Creek Dam, all provide that same kind of mitigation, to again hold water back during storm events and then release it slowly in a more controlled manner after the storm has passed and the immediate flooding has dissipated.”

The reason for this is to protect Nashville from flooding as a result of a rising Cumberland.

Imagine during the Flood of 2010 if the water from all of those huge lakes had been allowed to flow into the Cumberland River, or if those dams did not exist and the water from the Stones, Caney Fork and Obey rivers would have combined with the Cumberland uncontrolled. The flooding would have been much worse.

However, there is a short-term type of flooding that the storage reservoirs cannot prevent – localized small creek and stream flooding.

“It’s important, you know, if your local creek or your local river still gets multiple inches of rain on your neighborhood. You’re still going to get localized flooding,” said Rodino. “This is not going to prevent that. You will still need to exercise caution around those smaller water bodies. What this is going to help try to mitigate is those larger, large-scale events, preventing the large rise that we see on the main rivers in our area.”

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