Nashville dams saved $1.72 billion in flood damage

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Percy Priest Dam_488508

The 10 dams in the Cumberland River Basin operated as designed last month and saved an estimated $1.72 billion dollars in flood damage, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who operate the dams.

The National Weather Service confirmed February was the wettest month on record in the State of Tennessee. Nashville 13.47 inches of rain, beating the previous record in 1880 by more than an inch. 

“The water level on the Cumberland River in Music City reached 40.93 feet with projects operating but would have reached an estimated 57.2 feet if the storage projects upstream were not in existence,” the Corps of Engineers explained in a press release. “It would have exceeded the May 2010 event by nearly five feet and exceeded the flood of record in 1927 by nearly a foot.”

MORE: Current river levels across the Mid-state & how to monitor them

Nashville wasn’t the only place dams reduced significant flooding.

Dams also held the Cumberland River to 33.8 feet in Carthage, Tenn., 26 feet lower than the 59.8-foot record set Dec. 30, 1926; and 32.61 feet in Celina, Tenn., 25 feet lower than the 57.25-foot record set Dec. 29, 1926.

In fact, the dams are still holding back rainwater that fell during last month’s flooding. Water will continue to be released downstream slowly from Wolf Creek Dam, Dale Hollow Dam, Center Hill Dam and J. Percy Priest Dam, to make room for the additional rainfall forecasted this weekend.

Officials say to remain cautious near any of these waterways for the time being. 

“Waterways below these dams will continue to move more swiftly at higher elevations due to the water discharges,” Rodino said.

Download the free News 2 StormTracker App from WKRN and Nashville’s News 2 and be prepared when severe weather strikes.

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